SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – In an effort to end the exploitation of immigrants, state Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, D-Glenview, has introduced legislation to encourage them to speak up against those who have harmed them.
“All too often, immigration status is used as a weapon to intimidate vulnerable members of our community into silence,” Gong-Gershowitz said. “Threats to reveal irrelevant immigration information in open court and other cowardly tactics are routinely used to prevent victims from attaining justice.”
Undocumented immigrants are disproportionately targeted as victims of crimes due to their status. Perpetrators rely on their immigration status to deter them from seeking legal recourse. Gong-Gershowitz’s Senate Bill 1429 addresses this tactic by placing limitations on the use of immigration evidence in civil proceedings. This includes requiring the court to decide that an individual’s immigration status is essential to prove an element of a claim before allowing that status to be admitted into evidence.
“Our communities are safer when justice is available to everyone, regardless of their immigration status,” Gong-Gershowitz said. “We must ensure that rhetoric that attempts to dehumanize others is not allowed in our courts and that our legal system remains fair and just.”