Illinois governor signs bills aimed at protecting immigrant youth

Illinois governor signs bills aimed at protecting immigrant youth

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) on Tuesday signed two new laws meant at protecting immigrant youth “in the wake of attacks on immigrant families by the Trump administration.”

The two bills, passed by the state legislature earlier this year, move to provide “greater stability” for immigrant children, according to a news release.

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The first bill allows a person in the country illegally to appoint a short-term guardian for their children in case they are detained or deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The guardian would be entrusted to make medical decisions and enroll a child in school.

The other measure is aimed at streamlining state laws with existing federal laws to help undocumented youth obtain specific visas in the cases of abuse, neglect or abandonment.

The new legislation comes amid increased tension in immigrant communities surrounding the Trump administration’s policies.

Trump earlier this month ordered a series of highly publicized raids targeting more than 2,100 immigrant family members with deportation orders. However, only 35 people were taken into custody during the July 13 weekend. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents reportedly detained three children, all U.S. citizens, for about 13 hours Thursday morning at Chicago O'Hare International Airport after they traveled with a cousin from Mexico.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) promised that the raids would be met with “fierce resistance from Chicagoans who have been organizing tirelessly in their communities, and with an unshakable resolve to stand with, and never against, our immigrant neighbors.” 

She moved to permanently block ICE officials from accessing the city’s police databases.

A local chamber of commerce event hosted in Chicago also made headlines for letting children take turns smashing a piñata designed to look like an ICE officer.

"The accomplishments we have secured together have been done in the name of this shared belief: Nobody should ever be treated as less than a person because of where they were born,” Pritzker said in the statement. "That's not the message coming from Washington. Just this morning, the Trump administration announced a new class of undocumented immigrants to be subjected to expedited deportation. Once again, they are demonizing people who don't look and think like they do. There is no place for that in Illinois. I'm proud to sign legislation that offers greater stability to the lives of immigrant children who deserve all the hope we can give them."