Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SB0034
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Full Text of SB0034  100th General Assembly



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



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



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1evidence does not support a finding that the person is a victim
2of qualifying criminal activity. The certifying official shall
3complete the certification form and provide it to the person
4within 90 business days of receiving the request, except:
5        (1) if the person making the request for completion of
6    the certification form is in federal immigration removal
7    proceedings or detained, the certifying official shall
8    complete and provide the certification form to the person
9    no later than 21 business days after the request is
10    received by the certifying agency;
11        (2) if the children, parents, or siblings of the person
12    making the request for completion of the certification form
13    would become ineligible for benefits under Sections
14    1184(p) and 1184(o) of Title 8 of the United States Code by
15    virtue of the person's children having reached the age of
16    21 years, the person having reached the age of 21 years, or
17    the person's sibling having reached the age of 18 years
18    within 90 business days from the date that the certifying
19    official receives the certification request, the
20    certifying official shall complete and provide the
21    certification form to the person no later than 21 business
22    days after the request is received by the certifying
23    agency;
24        (3) if the person's children, parents, or siblings
25    under paragraph (2) of this subsection (d) would become
26    ineligible for benefits under Sections 1184(p) and 1184(o)



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



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1by which he or she will complete and reissue the certification
2form only upon written agreement with the victim or victim's
4    (f) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Section, a
5certifying official's completion of a certification form shall
6not be considered sufficient evidence that an applicant for a U
7or T visa has met all eligibility requirements for that visa
8and completion of a certification form by a certifying official
9shall not be construed to guarantee that the victim will
10receive federal immigration relief. It is the exclusive
11responsibility of federal immigration officials to determine
12whether a person is eligible for a U or T visa. Completion of a
13certification form by a certifying official merely verifies
14factual information relevant to the federal immigration
15benefit sought, including information relevant for federal
16immigration officials to determine eligibility for a U or T
17visa. By completing a certification form, the certifying
18official attests that the information is true and correct to
19the best of the certifying official's knowledge. If, after
20completion of a certification form, the certifying official
21later determines the person was not the victim of qualifying
22criminal activity or the victim unreasonably refuses to assist
23in the investigation or prosecution of the qualifying criminal
24activity of which he or she is a victim, the certifying
25official may notify United States Citizenship and Immigration
26Services in writing.



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