SPRINGFIELD - Nine Chicago-area Democrats are pushing legislation in the Illinois House that would make every school, medical or health care facility and place of worship an "Immigration Safety Zone" - providing protection for foreign nationals in the U.S. illegally.
The measure would fan the flames of a nationwide debate over the rights of those that have evaded federal immigration laws. The law would allow those facilities to protect residents from federal immigration officials, and it requires those facilities to provide instruction to their personnel on how to provide assistance to those evading the law. From the bill's description, HB 426 explicitly:
- Prohibits employees of elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education from asking about a student's immigration status or that of the student's family members, with exceptions.
- Requires the Department of Human Services to provide training or make training available to teachers, administrators, and other staff of elementary and secondary schools, as well as to medical treatment and health care facilities, on how to deal with immigration issues and how to notify families of those issues in multiple languages.
- Requires appropriate personnel of a facility to develop a plan to provide assistance, information, and safety to persons who are concerned about the government's immigration enforcement efforts.
Thus far the bill, HB 426, is sponsored by Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch - Ann M. Williams - Elizabeth Hernandez, and co-sponsored by Kathleen Willis, Gregory Harris, Thaddeus Jones, Silvana Tabares, Kelly M. Cassidy and Theresa Mah.
It is scheduled for its first hearing Wednesday, February 8 before the House's Human Services Committee.