The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is crediting some state lawmakers for quashing 10 pieces of legislation they say are now off the table in the General Assembly. Among the bills in question are HB 1969, a proposed law similar to the controversial Arizona measure that requires police officers question anyone they "reasonably suspect" of being undocumented; several attempts to exclude undocumented immigrant children from the state's AllKids health care program; HB 2791, a bill that would have required voters to show proof of citizenship when they register to vote; and HB 306, legislation that would have allowed the state and local authorities to release people in their custody to federal authorities for deportation.
State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), chair of the Human Services Committee, where several of the bills were stopped, drew a link between the bad economy, political point-scoring, and the bills targeting immigrants at a press conference today. Here's what he had to say:
With Congress failing to act on any kind of immigration reform, state capitols are increasingly battle zones for immigration policy, including the aforementioned Arizona, and, among others, Nebraska and Kentucky. But that style of anti-immigrant legislating -- and for taxpayers, the expensive legal battles that follow in their wake -- seems unlikely to arrive in Illinois anytime soon. "I will continue to ... make sure we never see a bill that singles out our communities in a negative and hateful way," State Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero) said today.