“Good morning, buenos dias, muchas gracias,” Gov. BRUCE RAUNER said at Mi Tierra restaurant in Chicago, when he signed the TRUST Act on Aug. 28, 2017. That bill stated that local law enforcement officers shouldn’t detain a person solely based on citizenship or immigration status.
The governor talked about how the bill would allow victims of crime to cooperate with local law enforcement, and how police organizations backed the plan.
“I believe very passionately in my soul, a primary reason that America is the greatest nation on earth is because we are a nation of immigrants,” Rauner said at the time, surrounded by legislators and others of a variety of ethnic backgrounds. “This bill takes us in a step continuing to be a welcoming state. … I am very pro-immigration. … I have been very pro-comprehensive immigration reform my whole life.”
Last week — almost exactly a year later — Rauner called in to WJPF, a Carterville-based radio station that bills itself “The Voice of Southern Illinois,” and talked of how Democrats has passed immigration bills, and he was vetoing three “pretty important bad ones.”
One bill involved landlords and tenants — including a provision that a person could not be evicted based on immigration status.
“We should not be tyin’ the hands of any property owners in the state or supporting illegal immigration in that way,” the governor said.
Another, the “Immigration Safe Zones Act,” would direct the attorney general to develop policies for immigration enforcement at public places, including schools and libraries.
“That is wrong,” Rauner told WJPF. “That is sort of part of that whole sanctuary concept that I’m against. …”
The third was the VOICES Act — Voices of Immigrant Communities Empowering Survivors. The chief sponsor, Senate President JOHN CULLERTON, D-Chicago, said it would set a deadline for police and prosecutors to help immigrant victims of crime — often human trafficking — with immigration paperwork.
Rauner said the bill could “delay deportations which should otherwise occur. … That’s a bad bill.”
Agreeing with the WJBF host that Illinois has a high illegal population, Rauner said, “And that pushes up our unemployment rate. And that holds down wages in Illinois, takes jobs away from Americans.”
Rauner advocated for national implementation of E-Verify, a system that has employers check online for the eligibility of potential employees. He said the system “may well have made a difference” in the case of MOLLIE TIBBETTS. A man authorities say is an undocumented immigrant was charged with the murder of the University of Iowa student.
Back at the TRUST Act signing, one of the people Rauner fondly introduced was state Sen. MARTIN SANDOVAL, D-Chicago. The governor used a good Spanish accent, calling the senator “Mar-teen.”
“There has been a definite change in strategy and in tone to Governor Rauner’s public persona with the Latino community and the immigrant community at large,” Sandoval, Senate chair of the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus, told me this week. “We saw how he moved forward on signing the TRUST Act … and he’s been simpatico with a number of other immigrant-related public policy issues and sensitivities.”
But, now with Rauner in the “red zone” of his re-election cycle, Sandoval said, “He’s doing an about-face. … It’s unconscionable, it’s immoral.”
Sandoval was born in the U.S. to parents from Mexico. He said he developed a relationship with Rauner early on, and appreciated that Rauner would call him by his first name with a Latino accent.
But, he added, “Today, he’s taking a page out of the (President DONALD) TRUMP playbook to obviously make an effort to win favor with people south of I-80.”
Rauner’s signing of the TRUST act was one issue state Rep. JEANNE IVES, R-Wheaton, used against Rauner in her primary challenge in March. She said it made Illinois a “sanctuary state” and Sandoval says the act is “synonymous with sanctuary state.” But Rauner strongly rejects that characterization.
PATTY SCHUH, spokeswoman for Rauner, reiterated that view on Wednesday.
“Law enforcement and police chiefs called on the governor to sign a two-page public safety bill that codified coordination between state and local enforcement and the federal government,” Schuh said of the TRUST Act. “It expressly allows communication with federal immigration authorities.”
The same day he spoke on WJPF, Rauner issued a news release on bill action, including mention of two immigration bills he signed. One would bar state and local agencies from creating registries of people based on things like religion or national origin. The other says the state can’t deny professional licenses to people based on immigration status. In his news release, the governor said it would principally benefit people brought to this country as children who signed up for legal status under DACA — the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
On WJPF, Rauner described the two bills he was signing as “pretty minor, pretty nothin’.”
“The three vetoed bills,” Schuh said, “undermine the rule of law and would make Illinois a sanctuary state, delay deportation of people who otherwise would be required to leave the country and prevent landlords from reporting undocumented tenants. As you may have heard him say, ‘we are a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws.’ We must follow them. The governor is opposed to illegal immigration. He believes strongly we need comprehensive immigration reform — done at the federal level — that respects and encourages legal immigration. He believes we need to fix a broken system.”
COLIN MAYNARD, of the Rauner campaign, said Rauner “wants to make Illinois a welcoming state and safe place for families,” and while for comprehensive immigration reform, he also “strongly spoke out against family separation at the border.”
“But he does oppose illegal immigration that often hurts American workers and can lead to human and drug trafficking that makes our communities less safe,” Maynard said.
Rauner’s bill actions came days after former GOP Gov. JIM EDGAR, writing in the Chicago Sun-Times, urged Rauner to sign all five bills.
Meanwhile, the TRUST Act signing ceremony is where Rauner said: “My grandparents were proud immigrants to the United States of America, here to Illinois in the late 1800s.”
PolitiFact Illinois found that Rauner’s maternal grandparents were born in Wisconsin in 1900 and 1901, and rated his statement as “Pants on fire,” PolitiFact’s highest level of false.
Contact Bernard Schoenburg: firstname.lastname@example.org, 788-1540, twitter.com/bschoenburg.
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August 29, 2018 at 08:09PM