Passage of Trust Act a victory for immigrants with disabilities

Access Living applauds passage of Illinois SB 31, known as the Trust Act. Signed into law on Monday, August 28 by Governor Rauner, the legislation is designed to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation. The law “restricts local law enforcement from collaborating with federal immigration agents to detain anyone unless the feds have a warrant.” Under the new law, undocumented immigrants can report a crime to police without fear of deportation. Also, undocumented immigrants who interact with police after a minor infraction, such as a traffic violation, will not face the threat of deportation.

“We congratulate the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and all coalition partners for organizing support for the legislation,” said Michelle Garcia, Community Organizer for Cambiando Vidas, an Access Living group that advocates for Latinos with Disabilities. Cambiando Vidas is part of the coalition that built support for the Trust Act and advocated to pass the law. “We applaud the sponsors of the Trust Act and Governor Rauner for the successful passage and signing of the law,” Garcia said.  

With the passage of the Trust Act, undocumented immigrants who may have sacrificed their safety out of fear of deportation, will have a level of protection. This includes people who are victims of domestic violence. Historically, people with disabilities are more likely to be victims of domestic violence compared to non-disabled people. “The law will help make people feel safe,” Garcia went on to say. “Under the new law, people who happen to be undocumented who are threatened by abuse and domestic violence can call the police without fear of detainment.”

Passage of the Trust Act is a positive step for undocumented immigrants. Yet, significant threats of deportation still exist for immigrants with disabilities, including the threat of medical deportation. In addition, the
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program may soon expire. DACA has helped nearly one million immigrants, and has strengthened the United States’ economy. Cambiando Vidas will continue to advocate for strong protections for immigrants with disabilities.

Established in 1980, Access Living is a non-profit, Chicago-based disability rights and service organization that provides individualized, peer-based services for people with disabilities. For more information, contact Gary Arnold at 312-640-2199(voice),, 312-640-2102(TTY).
Gary Arnold
Public Affairs Manager