castro floorSPRINGFIELD – To encourage victims of crime to make reports, assist law enforcements with criminal investigations and promote transparency in the criminal justice system, State Senator Cristina Castro (D- Elgin) has passed a measure to enhance the Voices of Immigrant Communities Empowering Survivors Act.

“The VOICES Act of 2018 was a good start in encouraging people to report crimes, especially violent ones, regardless of citizenship status,” Castro said. “These enhancements to the act will do even more to support both victims of crime and law enforcement in their investigations.”

The VOICES Act was initially passed to ensure that immigrant survivors of trafficking and certain qualifying violent crimes will have uniform access to the U or T visa throughout the state. In order for an immigrant survivor of crime to qualify for U or T visas, they must first obtain a signed certification from the relevant law enforcement agency affirming the applicant’s willingness to cooperate in the investigation or prosecution of the case.

This enhancement would strengthen language in current law to state that the designated certifying official must notify an applicant if the official determines that the applicant does not meet the standards of a qualifying criminal activity and that they must explain their decision in writing. 

“Often, undocumented or immigrant victims of crime are scared to come forward to report in fear of jeopardizing their immigration status,” Castro said. “The VOICES Act provides support for those who have faced violent situations while helping law enforcement find justice for their case.”

Senate Bill 2079 passed the Senate on Wednesday and now moves to the House for further consideration.

Category: News

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District Office:
The Professional Building
164 Division Street, Suite #102
Elgin, IL 60120
847-214-8864 phone
847-214-8867 facsimile

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121 D Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
217-782-7746 phone

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