Illinois moves to aid illegal immigrants

A sign that reads "DREAM Act now: Undocumented and Unafraid" by the Chicago-based organization, Immigrant Youth Justice League.

Kai Ryssdal: President Obama went to El Paso, Texas, today. He was talking immigration. The White House is trying to pressure Congress into taking up immigration reform once again. House Republican leaders are lukewarm to that idea, so states have begun taking things into their own hands. There's the controversial law in Arizona that's tied up in the courts. Utah's version of that law goes into effect today.

Lawmakers in Illinois, meanwhile, are considering a bill that may actually attract undocumented immigrants. Marketplace's Jeff Tyler reports.

Jeff Tyler: Illinois has its own version of the DREAM Act. State Senator John Cullerton sponsored the bill.

John Cullerton: This is a bill that would make college education easier for immigrant children by allowing them to participate in our two college savings programs.

What would it cost the state?

Cullerton: That's the beauty. It costs nothing of the state. There's no state tax dollars involved. And that's why we've got bipartisan support.

A commission would solicit private donations to help kids pay for college. Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel and other state politicians have promised to raise funds for the program.

That's important, says Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

Joshua Hoyt: The cost of education is very high and undocumented students cannot access Pell grants or loans because those are taxpayer money.

Illinois is also changing the way state law enforcement interacts with the federal government on immigration issues. The governor announced last week that the state would no longer participate in the federal Secure Communities program. It was supposed to target immigrants who are hard-core felons. Hoyt says the federal program has spun out of control.

Hoyt: Rather than focusing on dangerous criminals, they're deporting groundskeepers and nannies.

Some law enforcement officials don't like the Secure Communities program either.

Mark Curran is sheriff of Lake County, Ill. His resources are less than limited.

Mark Curran: We don't have the money to build a new jail at this point.

Already, he's got too many prisoners and not enough beds. So Curran resents it when federal immigration agents use one of his jail cells to house an undocumented immigrant.

Curran: It hurts us in terms of keeping serious people behind bars if ICE has a hold on somebody because they have a minor traffic offense.

Lawmakers in California and other states are also rethinking their participation in the Secure Communities program. As for the Illinois DREAM Act, the bill is expected to pass in the House. After that, it moves to the governor, who has pledged to sign the bill into law.

I'm Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.
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On March 17, 2011, Democrat Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada speculated for reasons known to himself, that the TEA PARTY would be short lived and disappear? Where he came up with this hypothesis makes the Tea Party branch members laugh, as the Tea Party is continually growing and now in the tens of millions. As of today there are thousands of these cells, as the spirited Founder and chair Rev. William Temple of Freedom Jamboree and the Tea Party National Straw Poll Convention explained at the news conference. Temple reprimanded the majority Speaker of the House Republicans, John Boehner. He had not sufficiently pushed for a cut in the massive federal deficit of 14.5 Trillion dollars and climbing each day. One of the main issues that must be exposed is the distraction of the illegal immigration invasion. This is currently associated with jobs, the economy, gasoline prices and banks that not lending to home buyers.

In El Paso, Texas, yesterday president Obama made a speech relating border security and the need to allow more immigrants into America? My assumption we should ask the 22 million Americans who are unable to find a full time jobs, specifically the poorer workers who don’t have a higher education? So just what we necessitate is more immigrant labor so says the President? According to the president’s speech and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano the border is more secure now, than it’s ever been? Yet according to the General Accounting office “illegal aliens can only be stopped along 129 miles of our nearly 2,000 mile long border with Mexico and along only 2 miles of our nearly 4,000 mile long border with Canada!" Local Border Sheriffs Larry Dever of Cochise County and Paul Babeu of Pinal County and anonymous Border agents have a different attitude to Obama’s statement.

The border region is more dangerous than ever before? That the border is so dangerous, that there are signs indicating these certain areas are off limits to the American public. Rep. Michele Bachmann, Senator Rand Paul, key leadership of the Tea Party opposes measures of easing immigration restrictions. Over the previous 3 decades, our borders have become less effective, with easy access in some locations to illegal immigrants, increasing the flood while the enforcement of our existing immigration laws have fallen on deaf ears. Rep. Bachmann stated, " I support legislation that first addresses our most urgent problem: securing America's borders. We must start by using new technologies such as electronic surveillance where most effective. We need to enforce current laws by holding responsible those who willfully violate our nation's immigration laws.”

Bachmann also co-sponsored declaring English as the official language of the US. Activists have said remove incentives and rewards to illegal aliens such as licenses, welfare, and other taxpayer services. Senator Rand Paul in my personal letter said, “I also believe that subsidizing something creates more of it, and I do not think the American taxpayers should be forced to pay for welfare, medical care and other expenses for illegal immigrants. I will work to stop those taxpayer funded benefits." America is a land of charitable and compassionate people, but our generosity and principles are being strained and being abused by those who are willing to break the law, taking our jobs and our tax dollars. Why is it not a felony to enter the United States without permission? Today these individuals are protesting and demanding even more from the taxpayers, in the form of education, health care, services that is provided to citizens and legal residents.

The Tea Party America's has declared that the illegal alien population will begin to shrink instead of growing, if we support candidates that will reflect the will of the vast majority of American citizens. The revolt within the Republican Party is the TEA PARTY who is resentful of both political parties having agendas to support their individual empowerment. This accounts for thousands of extra votes for Democrats and for the GOP exploitable cheap labor. Neither is the belief of the TEA PARTY that wants stronger enforcement at the North and Southern border, which includes a National Guard presence, with the ability to kill drug smuggling, weapons and illegal immigrants, with force if necessary? Furthermore, the mandated use of the new version of E-Verify, that carries tough penalties for businesses that hire workers, without legal status. In addition, the Permanent operation of “Secure Communities” in local police locations, to fingerprint and check their criminal charges through ICE data bases.

The Tea Party will not tolerate any further Amnesties, after the Great 1986 Amnesty laws were ignored by both parties. Internally in America, 20 million illegal aliens still find work in notorious businesses of every classification. The 2006 Secure (Double) Fence Act was intentionally unfunded just months after being enacted. The Tea Party apposes Sanctuary Cities, Chain Migration and the court mishandled instant citizen for babies intentionally conceived to gain entrance for illegal parents into America. The Dream Act, which in turn will add to the Chain Migration and Immigration Reform, a misleading name for Amnesty. All these lenient rewards, just encourages further exploitation and a unfettered magnet to financial benefits and public services once crossing the border or overstaying expired visas. The American people have woken up and each day are finding that the Tea Party (perhaps third party) are more like their middle class interpretation that they are striving for? The Tea Party stands somewhere between Democrats and Republicans in definition, as moderate Conservatism have received amazing results in such a short time. So Join the TEA PARTY as the revolution has just begun, to fade out the radical people who run this country. Skilled immigrants with high profession job expertise will receive the hospitality of all Americans, including the Tea party members. But we must stop the unfettered incursion of people, who will need welfare assistance and will displace impoverished Americans who still have a manual jobs.

Jackie Rose said it better than I ever could: The government simply doesn't know what to do with illegals because the group is far too big. It doesn't help that states like Arizona are blasted for trying to reign in on the problem, and the "r" word is thrown around all too casually when we try to remind others that yes, these folks are indeed breaking the law! We can't and won't solve this because the grown-ups are too busy dealing with the tantrums of the Kumbaya crowd.

Whether union-busting (mid-West)or flooding the labor force; legal or illegal immigration, state and federal governments seem committed to disinvesting in Americans and capitalizing on the labor value and social infrastructure of other countries. How about following the example of most industrial democracies by 1) providing subsidized higher education for its own citizens, while 2) enforcing existing immigration laws, rather than dumping them because they aren't being enforced properly?

"It costs nothing of the state. There's no state tax dollars involved."
In other words, hold onto your wallet!

"here's no state tax dollars involved." ... Yet. And the federal income tax was supposed to be a temporary, emergency measure, levied only on the richest of the rich. Do you *really* want to predict that as soon as there's more demand than the donations can cover, the state won't pick up the tab? Come on; this is *Illinois*.

And while the Obama administration will absolutely refuse to look into anything like this, I strongly suspect that implementing this bill would require state officials to commit federal crimes: "undocumented immigrants" are, after all, *by definition* criminals, and this bill would *require* the government to help them keep committing that crime.

I support abortion rights. I support gay marriage. I support affirmative action. I support a one-payer system for health care. What I can't support is bleeding-heart sympathy for illegal immigrants and their children. It defies my logic how we can "reward" a group of people for breaking the law simply because the group is so large that our government doesn't know what to do with them.

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