SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Bruce Rauner plans to sign into law on Monday both an automatic voter registration and an immigration measure that would limit the role of local law enforcement in federal efforts —a move that may spark some backlash among his conservative base.
Conservative firebrand Joe Walsh tweeted if he signs the immigration bill, “Governor Rauner is done.”
And Fran Eaton, co-founder of the conservative Illinois Review website, questioned whether Rauner’s support for the bill was “the beginning of the end.”
“If he wants Republican support, then govern like a Republican,” Eaton tweeted. “It’s simple. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time & energy.”
Last week the governor on WBEZ-FM called the immigration measure — the Illinois Trust Act — “very reasonable,” but would not confirm whether he’d sign it. On Tuesday, the governor’s office confirmed he’d sign the immigration and voter registration measures on Monday.
The immigration legislation would prohibit police in Illinois from detaining or arresting a person based on their immigration status or on federal immigration detainer. It would allow law enforcement officials, however, to detain a person with a judge’s order.
The bill passed with bipartisan support and was supported by faith leaders, law enforcement and businesses. But Republicans initially opposed the measure, arguing it will cause a conflict with federal laws.
State Sen. Dave Syverson of Rockford has said Republicans are concerned the “blanket prohibition could result in leaving criminal illegal immigrants, including those accused of violent crimes, on the streets.” The conservative news organization Breitbart just wrote an article on the bill suggesting Rauner would be helping Democrats “frustrate federal immigration enforcement.”
And Walsh, a former congressman and talk radio personality, weighed in on Tuesday, tweeting that if Rauner “allows Illinois to become a sanctuary state, I will not support his reelection. No way.”
When TV reporter Mary Ann Ahern tweeted that Rauner planned to sign the bill, Walsh responded:
“If true, bad terrible day for Illinois. Gov Rauner is done.”
Rauner has steered clear of making comments about federal issues, specifically about “sanctuary cities.” He has said he’s in support of a comprehensive immigration policy, however.
The automatic voter registration measure will automatically register people to vote at state drivers’ facilities, when applying for, updating or renewing a driver’s license or state ID — unless they opt out. It also creates a similar program for other state agencies. The governor vetoed a similar measure last year, citing concerns over voter fraud, and federal election laws.
Illinois will be the ninth state to approve automatic voter registration. The measure was sent to the governor June 29.