In Nation First, Illinois Bans Private Immigrant Detention Centers

June 24, 2019 AT 8:12 AM

By Tal Axelrod

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) signed a bill Friday that bans private immigration detention centers in the state shortly before an expected Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operation seeks to round up thousands of migrant families for deportation.

The bill’s signing makes Illinois the first state to forbid such detention centers. Pritzker also signed legislation that bars local law enforcement agencies from engaging in federal immigration enforcement with ICE and allows undocumented students to receive certain grants and other aid at public institutions. 

The federal government has increasingly turned to private detention centers to house immigrants, particularly close to the southern border, as it struggles to deal with a rise in migrants entering the country.

The Illinois Democrat cast the pieces of legislation as efforts to “protect Illinois’ immigrant community amid growing attacks from the federal government.”

“Illinois is and always will be a welcoming state,” Pritzker said in a statement. “Let me be perfectly clear: the state of Illinois stands as a firewall against Donald Trump's attacks on our immigrant communities. In the face of attempts to stoke fear, exploit division, and force families into the shadows, we are taking action.”

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