Senate Bill 667 Sent to Governor Pritzker Would Improve Trust Between Undocumented Immigrants and Local Law Enforcement

By Taher Kameli and Chathan Vemuri

 

 

The Illinois legislature has forwarded a bill to Governor J.B. Pritzker that, if passed, would go far in strengthening trust between Illinois law enforcement and immigrant communities. The bill, known as Senate Bill 667, or, the Way Forward Act, restricts local law enforcement from working with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and close immigrant detainment centers across Illinois.[1] Proponents of the Way Forward Act argue that the bill would improve trust between immigrants and the police so that there would be better cooperation between the two to help detect and deter crimes, without fear of deportation.[2] Specifically, the bill, if passed, “would restrict police from working with ICE on raids, sharing of intelligence data, and would shut down detainment centers across the state.”[3] In light of this, immigrants will have less reason to fear the police and be more willing to cooperate with them in the event of criminal investigations.[4]

Previous research has demonstrated that when local police officials work with ICE to enforce federal immigration laws, immigrants are not as likely to trust them to keep themselves and their families safe.[5] Likewise, the same research also shows that immigrants are less likely to trust law enforcement to protect their rights from abuse or discrimination when said law enforcement is working with ICE to enforce immigration laws.[6] This is compounded when immigrants face discrimination themselves, where they are less likely to trust law enforcement to keep their communities safe.[7]

In light of this reality, Pritzker potentially signing the Way Forward Act into law would be a welcome development in correcting this imbalance of trust and ensure that both immigrants and law enforcement can work together to keep the community safe and deter crime rates in the city.

 

 

Please contact the Law Offices of Kameli & Associates, P.C. at info@kameli.com or please give us a call at 312-233-1000 if you have any questions or concerns about the Way Forward Act and what it may mean for you or anyone else that you may know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Hensel, Andrew, Bill to Limit How Law Enforcement Works with ICE Heads to Pritzker, The Neighbor (Upd. Jul. 13, 2021) available at https://www.mdjonline.com/neighbor_newspapers/extra/news/bill-to-limit-how-law-enforcement-works-with-ice-heads-to-pritzker/article_edd4ab5a-f25c-5cd9-9267-e0cd6c900e6b.html

[2] Id.

[3] Bill to Restrict How Law Enforcement Works with ICE Headed to Pritzker, MyStateline.com (Jul. 14, 2021) available at https://www.mystateline.com/news/local-news/bill-to-restrict-how-law-enforcement-works-with-ice-headed-to-pritzker/

 

[4] Hensel, Andrew, Bill to Limit How Law Enforcement Works with ICE Heads to Pritzker, The Neighbor (Upd. Jul. 13, 2021) available at https://www.mdjonline.com/neighbor_newspapers/extra/news/bill-to-limit-how-law-enforcement-works-with-ice-heads-to-pritzker/article_edd4ab5a-f25c-5cd9-9267-e0cd6c900e6b.html

 

[5] Wong, Tom K., Kang, S. Deborah, Valdivia, Carolina, Espino, Josefina, Gonzalez, Michelle, and Peralta, Elia, How Interior Immigration Enforcement Affects Trust in Law Enforcement, U.S. Immigration Policy Center, 10 (Apr. 3, 2019) available at https://usipc.ucsd.edu/publications/usipc-working-paper-2.pdf

[6] Id.

[7] Id. at 11-13.