(CHICAGO, IL — April 11, 2017) During a visit today to the US-Mexico border in Arizona, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed federal prosecutors across the country to ramp up immigration-related prosecutions. His directive flies in the face of the reality of current immigration trends: immigration from Mexico is at net zero, and border apprehensions have been declining since the Obama Administration. Increasing criminal prosecutions for immigration offenses only wastes limited federal resources, pads the pockets of for-profit prison companies that detain immigrants convicted of these offenses, and separates and demonizes immigrant families.
“Today’s directive from the Attorney General further criminalizes immigrants,” said Lawrence Benito, chief executive officer for Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. “In Illinois, rather than demonizing immigrants, we are working to pass practical, helpful laws to make our communities safer for everyone.”
Last week, Illinois legislators responded to attacks on immigrants and refugees at the federal level, and the Illinois TRUST Act was passed through the Senate Executive Committee. The TRUST Act bill will help immigrants on the local level work better with law enforcement and feel safe in their schools, hospitals and other public spaces. Additionally, the bill will help immigrant crime victims seek legal protection, and bar Illinois from participating in any kind of discriminatory registry based on religion or country of origin.