Welcome to FindLaw's coverage of existing Illinois legislation and rules related to individuals' immigration status. However, it is important to be aware of the relationship and tension between state and federal law when it comes to subjects involving immigration. Below you will find information on what, if any, rules Illinois has regarding immigration checks by law enforcement, educational institutions, and employers, as well as the existence of E-Verify requirements, restrictions on public benefits based on an individual's immigration status, and more.
Law Enforcement and Immigration in Illinois
Although immigration and enforcement are typically matters dealt with by federal immigration authorities, an increasing number of local and county law enforcement officials are starting to assist with, investigate, or pursue suspected immigration-related offenses. Also, under a federal program known as "Secure Communities", all individuals arrested are fingerprinted and run through a database which checks their immigration status. However, some states are considering and sometimes passing legislation permitting local governments to "opt out" of such programs.
Under federal law, employers should refer to federal employment eligibility verification rules, as well as the requirements for Form I-9.
Illinois E-Verify Requirements
Although many states encourage, or even require the use of the E-Verify system to confirm applicant's and new hires eligibility to work in the country, Illinois is one of the very few states that prohibits companies from enrolling in any such system until accuracy and timeliness issues are resolved. Additional legislation establishes privacy and anti-discrimination protections for employees if the employers participating in E-Verify don't follow the program's procedures. Public agencies are similarly prohibited from using E-Verify.
Driver's License/ID Requirements
Illinois requires that first-time applicants for driver's licenses present a number of documents in order to establish identity, Social Security Number, address, and residency.. Illinois' Secretary of State provides a full list of required types of documents along with a chart of acceptable documents.
Public Benefits Restrictions
Under federal law, illegal immigrants are prohibited from receiving public benefits, although they are allowed to receive emergency services, health care, and other programs that have been identified as "necessary to protect life and safety."
Illinois is one of a number of states who have laws permitting in-state tuition benefits for qualifying undocumented immigrant students.
Voter ID Rules
Illinois has not yet established its own voter ID requirements although voter identification legislation has been under consideration for some time. However, standard federal requirements for identification for first-time voters and registrants will apply.
Housing Ordinances and Immigration
Illinois State Immigration Laws: Related Resources
If you would like to conduct additional research, click on the links below to learn more.
Are You an Immigrant Living in Illinois? Learn More About Your Rights From a Lawyer
While the laws regarding immigration might seem complicated and insurmountable, they don't need to be. You're likely not an immigration expert, but there are immigration lawyers in Illinois who can assist you in understanding the law and how it applies in your situation. Want to learn more or need immediate help? Find an immigration law attorney near you for some peace of mind.
Contact a qualified immigration attorney to help you get the best results possible.