toro 2929SPRINGFIELD — People come to Illinois from all around the world and have the difficult task of finding work, housing and a sense of community. This is all while navigating the confusing and lengthy immigration process. State Senator Natalie Toro is working on legislation to protect them from being taken advantage of during this vulnerable time.

“Protections against discrimination need to be in place for everyone who calls Illinois their home,” said Toro (D-Chicago).  “Immigrants, some of whom have left their families or do not speak English, can be more vulnerable to exploitation and discrimination. My new legislation will make sure bad actors cannot discriminate against immigrants without being held accountable.”

Under Toro’s measure, threatening to report someone’s immigration status or suspected immigration status to federal immigration enforcement or another person would be considered intimidation — a criminal offense. If sentenced, those charged would face 2-10 years of imprisonment, as intimidation is a Class 3 felony. The measure would not create any penalty enhancements under current law.

Toro hopes this additional provision will deter individuals from weaponizing someone’s real or perceived citizenship status against them for the individual’s own benefit.

“If we actually want to make Illinois a place that everyone can call home, then it’s time we make this long overdue change to protect members of our community,” said Toro. “The fight for progressive change always comes with challenges, but I vow to protect our immigrant neighbors despite any opposition.”

Senate Bill 2929 awaits further discussion in the spring legislative session.