Illinois Governor’s Executive Order Promotes Public Benefits for Illegal Aliens and Refugees
By Colton R. Overcash | March 1, 2019
On January 24, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) signed “Executive Order Strengthening Our Commitment to Immigrants, Refugees, and Asylum Seekers” (Executive Order 2019-07 (EO7)) ensuring that refugees, asylees, legal immigrants, and illegal aliens “feel welcome” in the Land of Lincoln by increasing access to generous state benefits.
This EO directs the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) to expand access to “welcoming centers” in the state for refugees, asylees, and other aliens regardless of their legal status. State agencies are also to provide these aliens with general information about their legal rights should they encounter a law enforcement officer, as well as actively engage them about welfare programs, employment training, legal assistance, and job opportunities in the area.
In addition, the order also requires DHS to “conduct a full review of appropriations that have been made in this year and prior years” and make any surplus funds available to support the centers. There are ten welcoming centers in Illinois, according to the DHS website. These centers are one-stop hubs that provide illegal aliens and refugees with an “array of services, information, programs, and classes to assist in their path towards integration.”
Gov. Pritzker predictably used the order to condemn the Trump administration’s priorities of actually enforcing our immigration laws, saying that the “president is doing everything that he can to attack immigrants and refugees in our state,” while simultaneously playing to people’s emotions by saying, “I want to make it clear from the beginning of my administration that we’re going to stand up for all of our children and families.”
The executive order simply expands all of the benefits and protections that illegal aliens living in the state already enjoy. Illinois became a sanctuary state in 2017 when former Governor Bruce Rauner (R) signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 31, the Illinois Trust Act. It is also home to at least 14 sanctuary cities and counties who’ve adopted a vast number of ordinances and policies to protect illegal aliens from law enforcement, according to FAIR’s 2018 survey of sanctuary jurisdictions.
There are estimated to be more than 507,000 illegal aliens living in Illinois, as well as 30,000 refugees. In total, FAIR’s research indicates that illegal immigration costs the state more than $3 billion each year. This executive order is likely to add to those costs.