Frequently Asked Questions

What does this bill do?

The Illinois TRUST Act restricts cooperation and communication between local police and immigration enforcement.

 

Why don’t we want local police enforcing civil immigration law?

Police and other law enforcement officials rely on trusting relationships with all communities to investigate and prosecute crime.  If immigrants believe they will be questioned and arrested based on their immigration status, they will be far less willing to come forward to report crimes and cooperate with authorities.   Based on this insight, several communities have already established policies that they will not ask about immigration status and limit their cooperation with federal immigration enforcement.

 

Are local police required to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement?

Nothing requires local police to engage in immigration enforcement or to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.  Indeed, the US Supreme Court has held that the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution prevents the federal government from “commandeering” local governments to do its work.  In addition, ICE detainers are requests, not requirements, and federal courts have consistently ruled that local jails can be sued under the 4th Amendment if they hold immigrants on detainers after those immigrants could otherwise be released and there is no showing of probable cause to continue holding them.

 

How big of a problem is it that immigrant families aren’t reporting crimes?

A University of Illinois at Chicago study found that 44% of all Latinos of all statuses, and 70% of undocumented Latinos, are less likely to report crimes if they are victims.  Several communities, including Los Angeles, are already reporting steep declines in reports of domestic violence and other offenses among immigrant communities, due not to fewer incidents but to fear of coming forward to police.

 

Won’t this bill hinder investigations of criminal activity and terrorism?

If immigration agents have a criminal warrant for a suspected offender, or if they are investigating criminal activity (including smuggling, human trafficking, and terrorist activity), this bill allows state and local police to cooperate.  This bill only restricts state and local police from investigating and arresting individuals based on purely immigration offenses.

 

What about individuals who pose a threat to public safety or national security?  Shouldn’t we keep them locked up?

Under our US and Illinois Constitution, we do not arrest people without probable cause that they are committing or have committed criminal activity, and we require warrants based on determinations of probable cause.  We do not arrest or detain individuals solely because they appear to pose a threat short of probable cause.  In addition, whether someone who has been arrested and can safely return to the community is a determination also made by our courts through bond determinations and sentencing.  If someone can meet the conditions for release or finishes her sentence, then further holding that person without probable cause violates our Constitution. 

 

Doesn’t this bill endanger federal grant funding to the state and local communities?

Several federal court decisions have held that the federal government cannot wield this threat against states and local communities.  In its 2012 ruling on the Affordable Care Act, the US Supreme Court held that the federal government cannot withhold Medicaid grants to states that failed to expand Medicaid eligibility, with Chief Justice Roberts stating specifically that the federal government cannot put a “gun to the head” of local governments.  On April 25, 2017, a federal judge blocked the section of the Trump Administration’s executive order that would strip federal grant funding from communities with welcoming policies, citing these and several other arguments.

 

What about immigrants who have been convicted of serious offenses and are in state prison?

The bill specifically allows IDOC to allow immigration agents to gain access to prisoners in IDOC facilities, to share information about those prisoners’ custody status and release dates, and to turn them over to immigration authorities.

 

Where do law enforcement organizations stand on this bill?

We have been working with several organizations to hear and address their concerns, including the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the Illinois Office of the State’s Attorney’s Appellate Prosecutors, the Illinois State Police, and the Offices of the DuPage County State’s Attorney and the Cook County State’s Attorney.  We have endorsements from the IACP, the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, Sheriff Tom Dart, State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, and the City of Chicago.

 

Who supports the bill?

A broad coalition for community and faith organizations are also endorsing this bill, including Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, National Immigrant Justice Center, West Suburban Action Project (PASO), Latino Policy Forum, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, American Immigration Lawyers Association, United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations, SEIU Health Care,  Illinois Health and Hospital Association, and many others.  See the full list of supporters here.