Immigration Debate in Illinois Heats Up- Whose Job Is It?
The questions of whose responsibility to legislate and enforce immigration issues are being vigorously debated in the Illinois General Assembly.
One faction says that the Federal Government has fallen down on the job and the state needs to get involved and pick up the slack. Lawmakers opposing proposed legislation say that the state does not have the funds necessary to do the job.
In a bill that some are saying shows “hatred against immigrants.” House Bill 1969 was introduced in the legislature last week. If passed, the bill would penalize and detain undocumented individuals not carrying a resident permit; employers who hire those undocumented residents and anyone caught “transporting, moving, concealing, harboring or shielding unlawful aliens.”
Rob Paral, an expert on Latino issues who has worked in immigrant integration, said it’s a mistake to address immigration reform on a state level.
Carla Navoa is an undocumented resident from the Philippines, now an activist in Chicago’s Immigrant Youth Justice League, the 22-year-old University of Illinois at Chicago student.
“I was infuriated because, from living in Chicago, that is pretty much an immigrant-friendly, immigrant-welcoming city and to have this bill introduced to threaten all of that made no sense to me,” Navoa said. “I often forget that outside of Chicago it’s a completely different world.”