August 24, 2018
To the Honorable Members of
The Illinois Senate,
100th General Assembly:
Today I veto Senate Bill 34 from the 100th
General Assembly, which imposes problematic mandates and timelines on agencies
that receive certain types of protective visa applications.
and T visas are non-immigrant visas issued for law enforcement purposes to
otherwise deportable persons who are victims of criminal exploitation or abuse,
including human trafficking, and are willing to assist law enforcement and
government officials in the investigation or prosecution of the perpetrators.
The purpose of such visas is to encourage cooperation with law enforcement by
alleviating fear of deportation, encourage strong relations between law
enforcement and these especially vulnerable classes of immigrants, and prevent
deportation of witnesses before investigations and trials can be completed.
34 provides that upon receiving a request for completion of a U or T visa
certification form, a certifying official in the receiving law enforcement
agency or prosecution office must complete the certification form and provide
it to the requesting person under an aggressive timeline, unless the certifying
official, after a good faith inquiry, cannot determine that the applicant is a
victim of qualifying criminal activity. This is a significant change of law
concerning the obligations of law enforcement agencies. Both the mandatory
response requirements and timelines will subject agencies and certifying
officials to significant liability, even for good faith efforts to certify.
Requiring certification within a tight timeline but also subjecting law
enforcement to perjury if a mistake is made is an unacceptably risky position
to put law enforcement in. Further, the agencies that may be required to
certify go far beyond who should be making the legal determination necessary to
certify the applicant’s eligibility for the visa. This responsibility should
lie with the states attorney in the jurisdiction where the implicated crime occurred.
the bill provides no funding for the additional personnel State and local law
enforcement agencies would inevitably be required to hire to process a likely
large increase in applications for U and T visas. The Illinois State Police, for
example, anticipate that if enacted this legislation would require hiring
additional attorneys and support staff, costing hundreds of thousands of
SB 34 constitutes an unfunded mandate upon
already strained State, local, and federal law enforcement agencies beyond
justifiable law enforcement need, allows for the legal determinations these
applications require to be assigned to inappropriate agencies without the
ability to accommodate the timelines in a responsible manner.
Therefore, pursuant to Section 9(b) of Article
IV of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby return Senate Bill 34,
entitled “AN ACT concerning government”, with the foregoing objections, vetoed
in its entirety.