Illinois Senators vocally oppose Trump on immigration orders


Daily file photo by Sam Krevlin

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill) looks on as Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill) accepts victory in her race for the Senate. Both senators co-sponsored legislation to repeal an executive order on immigration.

Nora Shelly, City Reporter

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) joined 20 other senators last week in introducing legislation to repeal an executive order calling for increased deportation.

The order, signed by President Donald Trump in late January, directs the Department of Homeland Security to prioritize the deportation of all those in the country without authorization who have been convicted of any crime, have been charged with an unresolved criminal offense, or have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense.

Additionally, those who have “abused any program related to receipt of public benefits” or have engaged in fraud with any governmental agency will be deported under the order.

In a statement, Duckworth said she stood with communities like Evanston against the order.

“Ordering local officials to needlessly tear families apart is unacceptable — and it compromises public safety in communities across Illinois by fostering mistrust and suspicion between local law enforcement and the communities they serve and protect,” she said in the statement.

The legislation calls for complete repeal of the order, which also threatens to withhold funding from sanctuary cities. Evanston passed a “welcoming cities” ordinance in December that pledged protection for citizens regardless of their immigration status.

On Saturday, CNN released a report detailing the Department of Homeland Security’s new deportation and border patrol policies based off of a leaked memo obtained by the organization. According to the memo, the administration is expanding the use of “expedited removal” procedures, which allow authorities to deport unauthorized immigrants more quickly.

Additionally, the memo recommends an increase in immigration judges and holding centers, as authorities will now detain unauthorized immigrants while their court proceedings are ongoing.

In a statement, Durbin said he was calling on Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), chair of the Judiciary subcommittee on Immigration, to hold hearings on the measures.

“We need an immediate public examination in Congress of these heavy-handed, anti-family policies,” he said in the statement. “The Senate should also pass the bill I’ve sponsored to repeal the mass deportation order. The Republican-controlled Congress has an urgent responsibility to do its constitutional duty and act as an independent check on President Trump.”

Duckworth similarly condemned the measures released in the memo, saying the government’s actions would “needlessly tear families apart.”
Both senators have signed onto an amicus curiae brief on a court case objecting to the now-stayed executive order that limits the ability of people from seven Muslim-majority countries to enter the country.

In tweets, Trump has defended the orders, saying “gang members, drug dealers (and) others are being removed.”

“The crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise,” he said in a tweet Feb. 12.

The brief, signed by 25 other senators, said the order is unconstitutional.

“Even during the short period while the Order remained fully in effect — before courts across the country intervened to restrain ongoing violations of constitutional and statutory rights, pending further review — the Order unleashed chaos and abridged the rights of countless individuals with ties to the seven Muslim-majority countries that it targets,” the brief said.

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Twitter: @noracshelly