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Mevorah Law Offices LLC
DuPage County Attorneys


900 E. Roosevelt Road, Lombard, IL 60148

Phone: 630-932-9100


134 N. Bloomingdale Road, Bloomingdale, IL 60108

Phone: 630-529-4761


333 N. Randall Road, Suite 104, St. Charles, IL 60175

Phone: 630-443-0600


58 N. Chicago Street, Suite 500, Joliet, IL 60432

Phone: 815-727-4500


105 W. Madison Street, Suite 2200, Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: 630-932-9100
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Illinois immigrants

Posted on in Immigration

Chicago immigration attorneys, immigrants rights, undocumented immigrant, citizenshipIn the recent charged climate in the United States, there has been fierce debate over how to balance free speech rights with the rights of immigrants, especially the undocumented, to be free of harassment or governmental mistreatment. Some persist in the misconception that non-citizens have no Constitutional rights whatsoever, which could easily lead to a normalization of persecution of even those who have legal status in the country. Some simply are uncertain. Immigrants do have certain rights, even if undocumented, though, and it is important to be aware of them if you or a loved one is caught up in recent events.

Constitutional Basis

The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is what grants the most important rights to all people within the borders of the United States, regardless of citizenship status. Its Equal Protection Clause states that no state may “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.” It does not specify citizens or immigrants with status; it says persons, and as such, this clause has been construed to apply to everyone present. The Equal Protection Clause itself essentially holds that no one may be discriminated against on the basis of certain immutable characteristics like race, gender or nationality, without a compelling state interest in doing so.

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sanctuary city, Trust Act, Chicago immigration attorneys,  immigration enforcement, Illinois immigrantsChicago is still a sanctuary city, and will remain so for the foreseeable future, according to Mayor Rahm Emanuel. However, this decision has not come without comment. The U.S. Attorney General has been highly critical of Chicago’s leadership, seeing fit to draw conclusions about the city’s crime rate versus that of Miami, ascribing the difference solely to Miami-Dade’s capitulation to the Justice Department’s request to honor immigration detainers. In what may be seen as a reaction to such talk, Gov. Bruce Rauner may be poised to sign off on the Trust Act, which could have a small but significant effect on Illinois’ immigrant population.

Is Chicago a Sanctuary City?

While there has been much ink spilled about what a true sanctuary city is, the term of art as it is understood is solely defined as a city which does not comply with federal immigration detainers. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) sends “detainers” to local police departments when they hear of someone they believe should be detained due to their immigration status. In most cities, local police comply with these “detainers,” holding the person for longer than they would otherwise be constitutionally authorized to do. 

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Posted on in Immigration

b2ap3_thumbnail_sanctuary-cities-Chicago.jpgIn the aftermath of the recent election, Donald Trump has pledged to eliminate funding to what he calls sanctuary cities, alleging that they permit undocumented immigrants to hide within their borders, potentially hampering criminal investigations and allowing tragedies like the murder of Kate Steinle to happen. However, there are many myths being bruited about what exactly sanctuary cities do and refuse to do, some of which have been taken up by the incoming administration. It is imperative, especially if you or your loved ones are undocumented, to understand the actual role of sanctuary cities in U.S. immigration policy.

A Misunderstood Term

It is important to understand that ‘sanctuary city’ is not a legal term of art; it is a catch-all term used to describe any city that does not move in lockstep with federal immigration policy. Sanctuary cities have existed since the 1980s, stemming from the idea of churches granting sanctuary to criminals in the medieval era. However, the term itself has been corrupted over time, by users on both sides of the aisle. Most laymen use it nowadays to allege that certain cities refuse to surrender undocumented or criminal immigrants to federal authorities, but no state authority can defy federal immigration law. This idea is misguided—if a federal warrant or authority demands a certain person be arrested, a federal officer may not be prevented from detaining that person.

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Temporary Visitor Driver's License, undocumented immigrant, Illinois immigration lawyerIllinois is one of the most socially progressive states in America, making it a desirable place to live for immigrants and non-immigrants alike. Illinois is in the front of the pack among the states when it comes to three of the biggest social issues of the day – same-sex marriage, marijuana, and immigration. Ours was within the first 20 states to legalize medical marijuana and gay marriage, and among only 10 states so far to allow undocumented immigrants to get a driver’s license. All three laws were passed last year, positioning Illinois as one of the leaders in granting civil liberties to its citizens.

Reasons Behind Issuing Driver’s Licenses to Undocumented Immigrants

The state’s reasons for issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants are the same as the reasons behind legalizing same-sex marriage and medical marijuana – it is both practical and the right thing to do. Supporters of same-sex marriage, and of greater immigration rights, argue that it is just to treat all people who reside in our country the same – granting everyone equal rights. Not everyone agrees, but regardless of your interpretation of individual rights under the U.S. Constitution, it is difficult to argue with the reality that undocumented immigrants are going to drive.

In fact, some estimate that in Illinois – the fifth most populated state – over 250,000 drivers are undocumented. Inevitably, these drivers get involved in accidents from time to time. The Illinois Highway Safety Coalition reports that undocumented drivers cause $64 million in damage claims each year. So, one practical approach to this problem is accepting the reality, and requiring that undocumented drivers learn the rules of the road and get a license and insurance.

Getting Your Driver’s License

Undocumented drivers, or non-visa immigrants who wish to drive, can now apply for what is called a Temporary Visitor Driver’s License (TVDL). A Temporary Visitor Driver’s License is good for three years but may only be used for driving purposes – not as valid identification in other circumstances. Commercial driving licenses are not available – only class D, L, or M (car or motorcycle). Some of the requirements are listed below, but not all, so be sure to check with an official testing center, or call the state office at 855-236-1155.

The general Temporary Visitor Driver’s License requirements include:

  • Making an appointment at an approved facility (you may bring an interpreter);
  • Residing in Illinois for at least one year;
  • Passing a vision, written, and road exam;
  • Having current liability insurance on your vehicle; and
  • Bringing $30 to pay for the cost of the license.

The licensing facilities accept different forms of identification. Make sure you have everything required before going to your appointment. A list of required documents is published at the Illinois Cyber Drive website. After you have met all the requirements and passed the exams, your Temporary Visitor Driver’s License will be mailed to you.

Legal Assistance

If you are having difficulty getting your Temporary Visitor Driver’s License in Illinois, or if you need legal assistance with an automobile accident or any other immigration issue, please contact an experienced immigration attorney at Mevorah Law Offices LLC today.

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Posted on in Immigration

Immigration Law Reform IMAGEMaria Enchautegui from the Urban Institute recently published some interesting statistics on the impact that immigration reform may have on families across the United States. Most news sources around the United States hold the number of people that will be affected by immigration reform at around eleven million. Enchautegui, however, explains that most media outlets forget the nearly nine million people who co-reside with those 11 million undocumented immigrants. U.S. born children with undocumented parents, for instance, make up some of the people who will be directly affected by an immigration reform bill, despite the fact that they hold citizenship. Hence, although estimates of undocumented workers are certainly relevant to the immigration reform debate, they in no way paint the whole picture.

Other numbers on unauthorized immigrants and the households they live in are staggering, and really show just how badly reform is needed. Over four million children ages 13 and younger reside with unauthorized immigrants in the United States, and over 70 percent of the undocumented immigrants that live in this country act as the heads of their household.

The fact that so many young people have such a big stake in immigration reform should be considered with the fact that there has been a slow growth in the population of undocumented immigrants over the past year. A decline in the U.S. population of undocumented workers paralleled the recession starting in about 2007, but as of early last year, there have been some indications that the number of undocumented immigrants is again rising.

So, what does all of this mean for the prospect of immigration reform? Although, traditionally, passing any fundamental legislation in an election year is difficult, next year may not follow the same mold as latino voters become a larger percentage of the electorate. With so many latino voters coming of voting age within the next few years, and with the fact that republicans will almost certainly work harder this election cycle to obtain a larger piece of the latino voter pie, the chances for immigration reform are unusually high. This is especially true given a recent poll that shows that, of the latinos who voted in the midterm elections, almost half said they may vote for a republican instead of a democrat, if republicans lead the way in Congress to pass an immigration reform bill.

To follow up on all immigration reform developments, and for all of your immigration law questions, contact a DuPage immigration law attorney today.

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