Rep. John Cabello (R-Rockford) | Courtesy of ilga.gov/
Six Illinois Republican lawmakers have moved to block a bill Gov. Bruce Rauner signed in August exempting immigrants in the state illegally from being deported if local authorities apprehend them on unrelated matters.
SB31, aka the Trust Act, allows such immigrants to report crimes without fear of reprisal by Illinois authorities for their immigration status, according to IllinoisChannel.org. The act also prevents law enforcement from stopping, arresting, searching or detaining immigrants because of their status.
Critics say the law makes Illinois a "sanctuary state," IllinoisChannel.org said.
"I swore to uphold the U.S. and Illinois constitutions when I became a legislator," state Rep. John Cabello (R-Machesney Park) was quoted as saying in the Illinois Review’s August report. "As a member of law enforcement, I took a vow to uphold the law. I believe and trust in those oaths, and intend to do all I can to keep them."
Cabello was joined by House colleagues C.D. Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville), David Reis (R-Willow Hill) and David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) in moving to invalidate a law preventing police from questioning suspects about their immigration status, as the Illinois Review website reported.
At the same time, state Sens. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) and Tim Bivins (R-Dixon) filed a comparable bill in the Illinois Senate to block the new law.
The repeal efforts gained traction after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said sanctuary cities weaken the United States to terrorism, according to a quote from Department of Justice spokesman Devin O’Malley published in the Illinois Review.
"As the attorney general has said, when cities and states refuse to help enforce immigration laws, our nation is less safe," O'Malley said on Fox News. "Failure to deport aliens who are convicted for criminal offenses puts whole communities at risk – especially immigrant communities in the very sanctuary jurisdictions that seek to protect the perpetrators."
The new law prohibits police from detaining suspects simply because of their immigrant status, the Illinois Review explained. In other words, local officials are not bound to uphold federal immigration statutes under the new law.
McSweeney criticized some Illinois GOP leaders for apparently embracing Rauner’s approval of the bill, according to the Illinois Review.
"I think it is important that people know what Attorney General Sessions thinks about SB31,” McSweeney told the Illinois Review. "(State GOP Chair) Tim Schneider, the chief cheerleader for the 'Capitol Compromise' massive tax hike is now presenting more 'alternative facts.’”
Cabello, who the Illinois Review said was President Donald Trump’s campaign co-chair, said local GOP leadership’s break with the national party line could spell voter apathy during the upcoming mid-term elections.
"People are telling me they're so fed up with the party leaders and the governor that they're just not going to go to the polls in 2018,” Cabello told the Illinois Review. “That's the opposite of what they should do.”