Illinois governor signs immigration, automatic voter registration measures

Illinois governor signs immigration, automatic voter registration measures
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Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) on Monday signed into law a bill that protects undocumented immigrants from being arrested solely for their immigration status and another that provides automatic voter registration to many state residents.

The immigration measure, known as the Trust Act, will require state law enforcement agencies to base immigration detentions on warrants, rather than federal administrative detainers, reported the Chicago Tribune.

It will also prohibit local law enforcement from detaining people solely based on their immigration status.

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The Trust Act comes in the wake of a public spat between U.S. Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsSessions: DOJ concerned about suppression of free speech on college campuses Faith communities are mobilizing against Trump’s family separation policy Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe lands book deal MORE and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) over similar so-called sanctuary policies enacted in Chicago.

"This was not an easy bill to pass, let's be clear," said Rauner.

Rauner added that he consulted with law enforcement agencies on whether he should sign the bill passed by the Democrat-controlled state legislature.

"They all said to me, governor, this is a reasonable compromise, it will help us do our jobs better, it will help us keep our communities safer," he said.

The Trump administration has pushed against sanctuary policies, saying they allow undocumented criminals to go free.

Many cities and states with large immigrant populations have countered that Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers — requests to hold undocumented detainees in local prisons — make them liable for due process violations.

Supporters of sanctuary policies also say that full cooperation with federal authoritiess on immigration enforcement erode confidence between local law enforcement agencies and the immigrant communities they police.

Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti (R) said the bill "does not turn Illinois into a sanctuary state."

"It will help us keep violent criminals behind bars," she added.

Illinois State Police Director Leo Schmitz said the legislation will help immigrant communities collaborate with law enforcement without fear of being detained for their immigration status.

Rauner also signed a bill for automatic registration for voters who get or renew a driver's license. He had vetoed a similar bill last year, citing concerns about voter fraud and conflict with federal laws.

Simplified voter registration has also become a national cause for Democrats, who are concerned about what they perceive as Republican efforts to disenfranchise minority voters.

President Trump set up the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity last month, led by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, to investigate claims he's made, without evidence, of massive voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election.