Black and Latino Caucus Members Urge Gov. Rauner to Speak Up for Communities of Color

July 24, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. –Committed to making Illinois a welcoming state, State Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside, and state Rep. Elizabeth “Lisa” Hernandez, D-Cicero, respective members of the Black and Latino Caucus, unified their fellow caucus members to pen a letter to Gov. Rauner urging him to enact immigrant protections passed by the General Assembly at the end of May. 



(Pictured: State Rep. Chris Welch and state Rep. Lisa Hernandez)


“In the era of Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions, it is crucial that we come together, and speak up for one another because an attack on one of us is an attack against all of us,” Welch said. “African-Americans and Latinos have made tremendous gains in the last few decades and we cannot let a misguided president roll-back that progress, which is why this legislation and the fact that the members who represent some of the most diverse districts in Illinois came together in solidarity for one another speaks volumes. Again, I urge Governor Rauner to make it clear to Trump and Sessions that he believes in an inclusive and forward-thinking Illinois.”


Welch and Hernandez were the Chief House Sponsors of Senate Bill 31, known as the Illinois TRUST Act, which would set reasonable limits on local law enforcement from engaging in the enforcement of federal immigration policies by:


  • Barring local law enforcement from complying with an immigration detainer without a court-issued warrant,

  • Barring law enforcement from detaining or continuing to detain someone solely based on an immigration detainer or non-judicial warrant, and

  • Prohibit stopping, searching, arresting, or detaining an individual solely based on their citizenship or immigration status.


According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), immigrant communities are more likely to report crimes and cooperate with police if they trust their immigration status will not be made an issue. Communities with more welcoming policies also show lower crime rates as undocumented immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born citizens. With Senate Bill 31, Illinois would join other states, including California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, to have restrictions in place which limit cooperation between local law enforcement and federal agents.


“As the governor of the state with the fifth largest Latino population, Governor Rauner cannot turn the other way while acts of discrimination take place. Because in difficult times, we speak up and take action, on behalf of those that can’t speak up for themselves,” Hernandez said. “So, it is my sincere hope that Governor Rauner will let Donald Trump and his extreme allies know that in Illinois, the rights of all people are protected.”


Senate Bill 31 has been sitting on the governor’s desk for 14 days awaiting his consideration. Gov. Rauner has until midnight on August 28 to sign it into law, veto it or let it go into effect.

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