The state of Illinois is a bit of a bellwether on immigration because there is an inherent divide in the state itself between the more conservative areas to the south, and the fairly liberal Chicagoland metropolis. In the past year, there has been quite a lot of debate, especially with the passage of the Illinois TRUST Act, which contains certain protections for undocumented immigrants. It can be easy to be confused as to what rights you have, and it is important not to make a wrong move.
The TRUST Act
The major piece of immigration-related legislation that was passed in 2018 is the Illinois TRUST Act, signed into law by Governor Rauner in August. There has been quite a lot of ink spilled regarding the Act, but it is important to understand what the actual law states and what it does not. For one, the Act does not hinder cooperation with federal law enforcement authorities, and is thus not a “sanctuary” act - but it does state that no one may be stopped by the police solely due to their immigration status. A sanctuary city is not the lawless den of criminals that some propaganda would describe it as - it merely means that the city’s law enforcement does not cooperate in handing people over to Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) if they have not committed a crime.
The TRUST Act prohibits both state and local law enforcement from detaining people solely based on their immigration status. However, it also carries a prohibition on volunteering information to any “discriminatory federal registers” based on race, national origin or another defining characteristic. While this may seem inconsequential, it is, in fact, a strong statement of support for immigrants - this law prohibits Illinois ever complying with any request for population data if there is a concern over its use being discriminatory. For example, the much-maligned voter fraud commission mounted by the current administration requested extensive data on Illinois voters, allegedly for nefarious uses. While Illinois ultimately declined to provide any data not already publicly available, this law would require that they decline to do so every time it may come up....