Madigan Meets with Civil Rights Leaders to Discuss Impact of Immigration Executive Orders & Announces Legislation to Strengthen Hate Crimes Law
Chicago —(ENEWSPF)—February 25, 2017. Attorney General Lisa Madigan this week hosted a summit with local civil rights leaders on immigration and hate crimes to discuss the impact of the federal Executive Orders on the nearly 2 million immigrants in Illinois communities and address the increase of hate crimes with new legislation that will strengthen Illinois’ Hate Crimes Law.
Madigan’s summit comes as the Department of Homeland Security released new guidance that detail implementation of some of the Executive Orders issued in late January and will lead to increased federal enforcement efforts to locate, detain and deport millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States.
Joining Madigan at the summit were representatives from the following organizations: Access Living, Anti-Defamation League, Chicago, Arab American Action Network, Arab American Family Services, Center on Halsted, Chicago Commission on Human Relations, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee, Chicago Urban League, Chinese Mutual Aid, Community Activism Law Alliance, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Equality Illinois, Equip for Equality, Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, Jewish United Fund/Jewish Community Relations Council, Lambda Legal, Latino Policy Forum, MALDEF, National Immigrant Justice Center, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois and Women Employed.
“The executive orders have threatened Americans’ rich history of inclusion and diversity that has made our country great,” Madigan said. “The federal government’s actions seek to close our doors to many vulnerable people seeking refuge from violence and hatred, and create a culture of fear that signals to many immigrants who live here and contribute to Illinois’ economy that they are not welcome. Immigrants provide immensely to our state through business and tax contributions, as well as important accomplishments to our state’s educational and health care institutions.”
A recent study showed Illinois businesses owned by immigrants produced $2.6 billion in business income in 2014, with immigrants composing 22 percent of the entrepreneurs in Illinois and immigrant-owned businesses employing over 280,000 people. In addition, Illinois immigrants paid $5.2 billion in state and local taxes that same year and represent over 23 percent of our science, technology, engineering and math workers.
Attorney General Madigan has condemned the immigration Executive Orders as unconstitutional, unlawful and un-American and has filed amicus briefs in three separate lawsuits challenging the travel ban executive action.
Madigan also issued a letter to Illinois Governor Rauner urging him and his administration to refuse to deputize Illinois law enforcement to act as immigration officers and police our immigrant communities. She also asked him to fight the executive orders and protect Illinois immigrants and refugees from discrimination and hate crimes.
As immigrants and refugees seek out information and help about the Executive Orders, Madigan also issued advice about the possibility of scam artists and unscrupulous immigration services providers illegally posing as lawyers or demanding up-front fees for assistance in the wake of the executive actions.
In addition, Madigan announced new hate crimes legislation that provides Madigan’s office with enforcement authority to take action on behalf of the people of Illinois. House Bill 3711, sponsored by state Rep. Litesa Wallace and state Sen. Omar Aquino, will better protect Illinois residents from escalating incidents of hatred and bias. The bill ensures all victims of hate crimes are afforded the ability to file a civil cause of action in response to incidents such as intimidation, stalking, cyberstalking and transmission of obscene messages and imposes civil penalties as a deterrent.
“The people of our diverse state, including immigrants and refugees, should never live in fear,” Madigan said. “Strengthening our hate crimes law can help people in our communities feel safe and valued – no matter who they are, where they are from, or what they believe.”
“It is imperative that we send a message near and far that the people of Illinois will not tolerate hate or crimes motivated by bigotry in our communities,” Wallace said. “I am proud to stand with the Attorney General to condemn hate crimes in the strongest terms possible, and I encourage my colleagues in the House to stand with us.”
“Our state and our country are enriched by the many cultures, traditions and histories of our people, and we will not stand in fear of those who perpetrate crimes out of bias and hatred,” Aquino said. “We must unite in the face of increasing incidents of hate, and I urge my colleagues in the General Assembly to work together in the spirit of unity to pass this measure.”
Attorney General Madigan’s Civil Rights Bureau protects the civil rights of all Illinois residents. The Bureau enforces civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination, works to strengthen the civil rights laws, and participates in community outreach programs. The Bureau also investigates complaints of pattern and practice discrimination in housing, public accommodations, employment, and financial matters. Attorney General Madigan encourages individuals to contact her office to report instances of discrimination or harassment by calling her Civil Rights Hotline at 1-877-581-3692.
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