There’s differing opinions on the messages being sent to migrants with two bills signed Tuesday in Chicago by Gov. J.B. Pritkzer.
One measure Pritzker signed in Chicago Tuesday, House Bill 836, doubles the time allowed for short-term guardianship to two years for children whose parents have been detained or deported by federal immigration officials.
“As long as Washington [D.C.] is dominated by a philosophy that threatens Illinois families, we can and we will give parents the dignity of knowing their children are in trusted hands,” Pritzker said.
HB 836 ensures a parent in the country illegally can entrust a guardian to make medical decisions and enroll a child in school, among other activities, the governor’s office said. The measure would also give the courts discretion to grant guardianship of a minor whose parent can’t be reached due to an administrative separation.
State Rep. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, said Illinois can’t even manage its current caseload at the Department of Children and Family Services.
“We can’t even get our foster care situation under control and we’re going to sit here and pretend that we’re going to take care of these children until these things get straightened out with their parents,” Bailey said.
In just a 12-month period, 98 children involved in investigations by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services died.
Another measure Pritzker signed Tuesday, House Bill 1553, aligns state laws with existing federal laws, the governor’s office said.
“It authorizes adoption, family, juvenile and probate courts to proceed with and grant a petition for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, a visa specific to undocumented children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned,” the administration said.
Prtizker said the measures send the right message to immigrants.
“Illinois is a welcoming state and will always be and these bills are just two examples of how we are making it more welcoming and the most welcoming state in the United States,” Pritkzer said.
Bailey said the measures send the wrong message to legal migrants.
“The money and the time that the people who came here legally and worked so hard and diligently and studied and put money forth to go through the proper channels they’re being told that basically ‘hey, sorry, you wasted your time and you didn’t really have to do this process’,” Bailey said.