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Full Text of SB0034  100th General Assembly

SB0034enr 100TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY



 


 
SB0034 EnrolledLRB100 04993 RJF 15003 b

1    AN ACT concerning government.
 
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
 
4    Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Voices
5of Immigrant Communities Empowering Survivors (VOICES) Act.
 
6    Section 5. Definitions. In this Act:
7    "Certification form" means a law enforcement certification
8form or statement required by federal immigration law
9certifying that a person is a victim of qualifying criminal
10activity including, but not limited to, the information
11required by Section 1184(p) of Title 8 of the United States
12Code, including current United States Citizenship and
13Immigration Services Form I-918, Supplement B, or any successor
14form for purposes of obtaining a U visa or by Section 1184(o)
15of Title 8 of the United States Code, including current United
16States Citizenship and Immigration Services Form I-914,
17Supplement B, or any successor form for purposes of obtaining a
18T visa.
19    "Certifying agency" means a State or local law enforcement
20agency, prosecutor, or other public authority that has
21responsibility for the investigation or prosecution of a
22qualifying crime or criminal activity, including an agency that
23has criminal investigative jurisdiction in its respective

 

 

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1areas of expertise, but not including any State court.
2    "Qualifying criminal activity" means any activity,
3regardless of the stage of detection, investigation, or
4prosecution, designated in Section 1101(a)(15)(U)(iii) of
5Title 8 of the United States Code, any implementing federal
6regulations, supplementary information, guidance, and
7instructions.
8    "Victim of qualifying criminal activity" means a person
9described in Section 1101(a)(15)(U)(i)(I) of Title 8 of the
10United States Code, in the definition of "victim of a severe
11form of trafficking" in Section 7102(14) of Title 22 of the
12United States Code, or in any implementing federal regulations,
13supplementary information, guidance, and instructions.
 
14    Section 10. Certifications for victims of qualifying
15criminal activity.
16    (a) The head of each certifying agency shall designate an
17official or officials in supervisory roles, either within the
18agency or, by agreement with another agency with concurrent
19jurisdiction over the geographic area or subject matter covered
20by that agency, within that other agency. Designated officials
21may not be members of a collective bargaining unit represented
22by a labor organization, unless the official is an attorney or
23is employed in an agency in which all supervisory officials are
24members of a collective bargaining unit. Certifying officials
25shall:

 

 

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1        (1) respond to requests for completion of
2    certification forms received by the agency, as required by
3    this Section; and
4        (2) make information regarding the agency's procedures
5    for certification requests publicly available for victims
6    of qualifying criminal activity and their representatives.
7    (b) Any person seeking completion of a certification form
8shall first submit a request for completion of the
9certification form to the certifying official for any
10certifying agency that detected, investigated, or prosecuted
11the criminal activity upon which the request is based.
12    (c) A request for completion of a certification form under
13this Section may be submitted by a representative of the person
14seeking the certification form, including, but not limited to,
15an attorney, accredited representative, or domestic violence
16or sexual assault services provider.
17    (d) Upon receiving a request for completion of a
18certification form, a certifying official shall complete the
19certification form for any victim of qualifying criminal
20activity. If the certifying official cannot determine that the
21applicant is a victim of qualifying criminal activity, the
22certifying official may provide written notice to the person or
23the person's representative explaining why the available
24evidence does not support a finding that the person is a victim
25of qualifying criminal activity. The certifying official shall
26complete the certification form and provide it to the person

 

 

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1within 90 business days of receiving the request, except:
2        (1) if the person making the request for completion of
3    the certification form is in federal immigration removal
4    proceedings or detained, the certifying official shall
5    complete and provide the certification form to the person
6    no later than 21 business days after the request is
7    received by the certifying agency;
8        (2) if the children, parents, or siblings of the person
9    making the request for completion of the certification form
10    would become ineligible for benefits under Sections
11    1184(p) and 1184(o) of Title 8 of the United States Code by
12    virtue of the person's children having reached the age of
13    21 years, the person having reached the age of 21 years, or
14    the person's sibling having reached the age of 18 years
15    within 90 business days from the date that the certifying
16    official receives the certification request, the
17    certifying official shall complete and provide the
18    certification form to the person no later than 21 business
19    days after the request is received by the certifying
20    agency;
21        (3) if the person's children, parents, or siblings
22    under paragraph (2) of this subsection (d) would become
23    ineligible for benefits under Sections 1184(p) and 1184(o)
24    of Title 8 of the United States Code in less than 21
25    business days of receipt of the certification request, the
26    certifying official shall complete and provide a

 

 

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1    certification form to the person within 5 business days; or
2        (4) a certifying official may extend the time period by
3    which it must complete and provide the certification form
4    to the person as required under this subsection (d) only
5    upon written agreement with the person or person's
6    representative.
7    Requests for expedited completion of a certification form
8under paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of this subsection (d) shall
9be affirmatively raised by the person or that person's
10representative in writing to the certifying agency and shall
11establish that the person is eligible for expedited review.
12    (e) A certifying official who issued an initial
13certification form shall complete and reissue a certification
14form within 90 business days of receiving a request from a
15victim to reissue. If the victim seeking recertification has a
16deadline to respond to a request for evidence from United
17States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the certifying
18official shall complete and issue the form no later than 21
19business days after the request is received by the certifying
20official. Requests for expedited recertification shall be
21affirmatively raised by the victim or victim's representative
22in writing and shall establish that the victim is eligible for
23expedited review. A certifying official may extend the deadline
24by which he or she will complete and reissue the certification
25form only upon written agreement with the victim or victim's
26representative.

 

 

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1    (f) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Section, a
2certifying official's completion of a certification form shall
3not be considered sufficient evidence that an applicant for a U
4or T visa has met all eligibility requirements for that visa
5and completion of a certification form by a certifying official
6shall not be construed to guarantee that the victim will
7receive federal immigration relief. It is the exclusive
8responsibility of federal immigration officials to determine
9whether a person is eligible for a U or T visa. Completion of a
10certification form by a certifying official merely verifies
11factual information relevant to the federal immigration
12benefit sought, including information relevant for federal
13immigration officials to determine eligibility for a U or T
14visa. By completing a certification form, the certifying
15official attests that the information is true and correct to
16the best of the certifying official's knowledge. No provision
17in this Act limits the manner in which a certifying officer or
18certifying agency may describe whether the person has
19cooperated or been helpful to the agency or provide any
20additional information the certifying officer or certifying
21agency believes might be relevant to a federal immigration
22officer's adjudication of a U or T visa application. If, after
23completion of a certification form, the certifying official
24later determines the person was not the victim of qualifying
25criminal activity or the victim unreasonably refuses to assist
26in the investigation or prosecution of the qualifying criminal

 

 

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1activity of which he or she is a victim, the certifying
2official may notify United States Citizenship and Immigration
3Services in writing.
4    (g) A certifying official or agency receiving requests for
5completion of certification forms shall not disclose the
6immigration status of a victim or person requesting the
7certification form, except to comply with federal law or State
8law, legal process, or if authorized, by the victim or person
9requesting the certification form.
 
10    Section 15. Immunity. A certifying agency or certifying
11official acting or failing to act in good faith in compliance
12with this Act shall have immunity from civil or criminal
13liability that might otherwise occur as a result of so acting
14or failing to act, with the exception of willful or wanton
15misconduct. Any action brought to seek enforcement of this Act
16shall be ineligible to seek attorney's fees and costs, unless
17the action demonstrates willful or wanton misconduct by a
18certifying agency or certifying official.