Should law enforcement be able to detain people based only on their immigration status?
That is the question that the Illinois TRUST Act answers loud and clear. The act, which was signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner in August, prohibits police officers from stopping, detaining or arresting people just because they are undocumented immigrants.
A Bold Stand Against Federal Directives
According to an article from NBC 5 Chicago, this law goes directly against federal directives that local law enforcement detain undocumented immigrants.
Rauner has said that this bill is designed to continue the tradition Illinois has of being welcoming to immigrants. He has also stated that it makes clear that law enforcement's priority is to stop violent crime. In large part, the goal is to increase trust between police and immigrants in the hopes that undocumented immigrants will be willing to come forward to report crimes or assist in investigations without having to fear deportation.
However, people should be aware that the law does not prevent police officers from communicating with immigration authorities. In other words, while police cannot hold a person solely based on their immigration status, they can contact immigration authorities to do so. They can also hold people if presented with a criminal warrant.
Immigrants who are detained or arrested by law enforcement for any reason need to know that they have rights. With the passing of this new law, detainment or arrest may be illegal. Whatever the case may be, there are options for fighting deportation.