Illinois Governor to Sign Immigration Bill

Bruce Rauner, the Republican Governor of Illinois, intends to sign into law a bill to protect undocumented immigrants from being held in detention solely on account of their immigration status, his office has revealed. The decision will delight immigrant advocates but is likely to incense some of the more conservative members of his party.

Laurel Patrick, a spokeswoman for Rauner, says that the Governor will sign the legislation on Monday, but gave no indication of where the signing will take place. On Friday, Rauner indicated that he would support the bill, during an interview on the Morning Shift program on WBEZ-FM 91.5, saying he thought it sounded reasonable and had already gained support from the business and immigration communities, as well as law enforcement.

The bill has been waiting for Rauner’s signature since late June, having passed mainly due to support from the Democratic Party. One Republican in the House of Representatives and five in the Senate supported the bill, which has been called the Trust Act. The legislation will prevent undocumented immigrants from detention or arrest by local and state police in Illinois, based on federal immigration detainers or because of their status, although a warrant from a judge will still be valid.

Last week, Republican Senator, Kyle McCarter said that if Rauner supports, rather than vetoes, the bill it could be the last straw for the Governor with many Downstate voters, who previously supported him.