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Rauner’s True Record on Immigration – Blocked Refugees, Cut Services and Protections

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Rauner’s Public Waffling on Immigration Leaves No One Happy

Today Governor Bruce Rauner signs the Trust Act, which he publicly waffled on for weeks. Despite telling advocates his office planned on signing the bill, Governor Rauner went on Fox News two weeks ago and refused to defend the bill in front of a national audience. Rauner’s extended public deliberations on the Trust Act have also brought scorn from the right. The Chicago Tribune’s John Kass warned that Rauner’s support for the Trust Act would “open a breach… a gorge, full of angry conservative whispers.”
Rauner’s overall immigration record leaves a lot to be desired. On his first days in office, Rauner rescinded important executive orders that shielded immigrants from deportation. His first proposed budget would have axed funding for programs designed to help immigrants become citizens. And in 2015, Rauner joined many Republicans in trying to close the state’s borders to Middle Eastern refugees.
“The only consistent action Governor Rauner has taken on immigration is his refusal to stand up to President Donald Trump,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Governor Rauner’s public waffling on the issue shows he’s more concerned about his political future than what is right for the people of Illinois. Rauner cannot be trusted to stand up for the people of Illinois when it matters most.”  


Associated Press Headline: “Gov. Rauner’s Immigration Message Leaves Advocates Perplexed.” [Associated Press, 3/22/15]
2015: Rauner Sent “Mixed Signals” About Immigration Reform –  He Rescinded Exec Orders Making State More Immigrant Friendly And Proposed Cutting $8 Million In Services That Help Refugees/Immigrants Become Citizens.  “More than two months after taking the reins of one of the nation’s most immigrant-friendly states, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has offered mixed signals about his stance on immigration. He’s publicly backed “comprehensive reform” and tells stories of his Swedish dairyman grandfather’s immigration, but rescinded executive orders aimed at making the state more welcoming to immigrants. He refused to join other GOP governors in a lawsuit against President Barack Obama’s immigration executive action, but proposed slashing roughly $8 million in services to help refugees and immigrants who want citizenship.” [Associated Press, 3/22/15]
Rauner Rescinded An Immigration Executive Order That Prohibited Law Enforcement From Stopping Anyone Based On Citizenship, And An Order Designed To Help Anyone Immigrants Benefit From President Obama’s Executive Orders Curbing Deportations. “What Rauner has done is cancel two immigrant-related executive orders put in place by predecessor Democrat Pat Quinn. One prohibited state law enforcement agencies from stopping anyone based solely on citizenship or immigration status. The other provided ways to help immigrants benefit from Obama’s executive action designed to curb deportations. Rauner said Friday the two orders, among the seven of Quinn’s that Rauner rescinded, were part of an agenda ‘that was just not productive’ and that he planned to set his own ‘pro-immigration’ agenda.” [Associated Press, 3/22/15]
Headline: “Rauner Halts Syrian Refugees In Illinois, Joins Wave Of Governors” [Chicago Tribune, 11/17/15]
Nov. 2015: After The Paris Terror Attack, Rauner Announced Illinois Would Stop Accepting Syrian Refugees. According to the Chicago Tribune, “Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday joined a wave of mostly Republican governors in announcing that Illinois would temporarily stop accepting Syrian refugees following the Paris terrorist attacks, sparking sharp criticism from advocates who said the move amounted to fear-mongering and raising questions about whether states can refuse to take those fleeing the war-torn country.” [Chicago Tribune, 11/17/15]
Rauner Extended His Syrian Refugee Ban To Iraqi Refugees. “Critics say governors don’t have the legal authority to block refugees, and it’s discrimination to block out any one group. But this time, Rauner didn’t just single out Syrians. ‘I have asked the Obama administration to take a pause – it’s not a long-term action but a pause – in our acceptance, our welcoming, of refugees from Syria and Iraq.’ In written statements outlining his refugee policy, Rauner has never included Iraqis.” [NPR Illinois, 12/8/15]
Sun-Times Editorial: Rauner Only Commented On Trump’s Muslim Ban When “It Mattered Less.” “When Trump issued an executive order in January banning refugees and immigrants from seven majority Muslim countries in the Middle East, Rauner did an imitation of a waffle iron. He noted that ‘serious concerns’ about the order ‘have been raised’ and should be resolved by the courts. Only a month later, when it mattered less, did he call the executive order ‘overly broad.’” [Editorial, Chicago Sun-Times, 8/24/17]