Demmer questions immigration legislation
Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) doubts a Democratic-sponsored immigration bill will work.
SB35, sponsored by Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch (D-Hillside), would create the Immigration Safe Zones Act and mandate the attorney general publish archetypal policies assuring all citizens, regardless of immigration status, remain protected under the law against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Demmer asked what the legal effect of Attorney General Lisa Madigan's policies would be. Welch said all law enforcement would follow the order.
“Is the attorney general free to publish guidance on this topic today?” Demmer asked.
“I guess she is, but this would require her to do it,” Welch said.
According to witness Mony Ruiz-Velasco, West Suburban Action Project executive director, the attorney general must publish policies that would be recommendations for state-funded agencies to adopt.
“It is not mandated that they adopt them,” Ruiz-Velasco said.
Demmer asked his question again, wanting to know if Madigan could publish them now in an effort to point out she has chosen not.
“Have you discussed with the attorney general why she has not chosen to do so?” Demmer asked Welch.
Welch said he has not had any discussion with Madigan.
“I would say the reason that is it important for the legislature to act because no matter who the attorney general is, we are requiring you to publish policies on this particular topic,” Welch said.
Demmer confirmed that lawmakers were leaving the type of content up to the attorney general in office.
“So, the state legislature is passing this proposal, which is requiring the attorney general do something she is already free to do,” Demmer said.
“I guess we take away her free will and require her to do it,” Welch said.
The bill may bring on a separation of powers, according to Demmer, who questioned at what level courts make evaluations. Ruiz-Velasco said courts do not have to adopt the policies.
“I can tell you the chief justice has issued some guidance,” she said.
Demmer asked if a court adopted the policy and was faced with charging a someone with a serious crime, would the dogma prevent them from referring the criminal to immigration if they were undocumented?
“I don’t see anything in this that would prevent that from happening,” Welch said.
Demmer said it could happen due to leaving the discretion entirely up to the attorney general. Speaking to the bill, Demmer said if it passes, lawmakers are requiring the attorney general to do what she chooses not to do.
“We don’t know what the actual impact or legal effect of these bills would be,” Demmer said.
Whether the policies are on a site-by-site basis or over broad regions is also concerning, Demmer said.
“I think this sets up to be in a situation with a very confusing outcome,” Demmer said.
SB35 advanced out of committee with a 7-5 vote.