Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SB2079
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Full Text of SB2079  102nd General Assembly




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1    AN ACT concerning government.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 5. The Voices of Immigrant Communities Empowering
5Survivors (VOICES) Act is amended by changing Section 10 and
6by adding Section 11 as follows:
7    (5 ILCS 825/10)
8    Sec. 10. Certifications for victims of qualifying criminal
10    (a) The head of each certifying agency shall designate an
11official or officials in supervisory roles, either within the
12agency or, by agreement with another agency with concurrent
13jurisdiction over the geographic area or subject matter
14covered by that agency, within that other agency. Designated
15officials may not be members of a collective bargaining unit
16represented by a labor organization, unless the official is an
17attorney or is employed in an agency in which all supervisory
18officials are members of a collective bargaining unit.
19Certifying officials shall:
20        (1) respond to requests for completion of
21    certification forms received by the agency, as required by
22    this Section; and
23        (2) make information regarding the agency's procedures



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1    for certification requests publicly available for victims
2    of qualifying criminal activity and their representatives.
3    (b) Any person seeking completion of a certification form
4shall first submit a request for completion of the
5certification form to the certifying official for any
6certifying agency that detected, investigated, or prosecuted
7the criminal activity upon which the request is based.
8    (c) A request for completion of a certification form under
9this Section may be submitted by a representative of the
10person seeking the certification form, including, but not
11limited to, an attorney, accredited representative, or
12domestic violence or sexual assault services provider.
13    (d) Upon receiving a request for completion of a
14certification form, a certifying official shall complete the
15certification form for any victim of qualifying criminal
16activity. If the certifying official cannot determine that the
17applicant is a victim of qualifying criminal activity, the
18certifying official may provide written notice to the person
19or the person's representative explaining why the available
20evidence does not support a finding that the person is a victim
21of qualifying criminal activity. The certifying official shall
22complete the certification form and provide it to the person
23within 90 business days of receiving the request, except:
24        (1) if the person making the request for completion of
25    the certification form is in federal immigration removal
26    proceedings or detained, the certifying official shall



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1    complete and provide the certification form to the person
2    no later than 21 business days after the request is
3    received by the certifying agency;
4        (2) if the children, parents, or siblings of the
5    person making the request for completion of the
6    certification form would become ineligible for benefits
7    under Sections 1184(p) and 1184(o) of Title 8 of the
8    United States Code by virtue of the person's children
9    having reached the age of 21 years, the person having
10    reached the age of 21 years, or the person's sibling
11    having reached the age of 18 years within 90 business days
12    from the date that the certifying official receives the
13    certification request, the certifying official shall
14    complete and provide the certification form to the person
15    no later than 21 business days after the request is
16    received by the certifying agency;
17        (3) if the person's children, parents, or siblings
18    under paragraph (2) of this subsection (d) would become
19    ineligible for benefits under Sections 1184(p) and 1184(o)
20    of Title 8 of the United States Code in less than 21
21    business days of receipt of the certification request, the
22    certifying official shall complete and provide a
23    certification form to the person within 5 business days;
24    or
25        (4) a certifying official may extend the time period
26    by which it must complete and provide the certification



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1    form to the person as required under this subsection (d)
2    only upon written agreement with the person or person's
3    representative.
4    Requests for expedited completion of a certification form
5under paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of this subsection (d)
6shall be affirmatively raised by the person or that person's
7representative in writing to the certifying agency and shall
8establish that the person is eligible for expedited review.
9    (e) A certifying official who issued an initial
10certification form shall complete and reissue a certification
11form within 90 business days of receiving a request from a
12victim to reissue. If the victim seeking recertification has a
13deadline to respond to a request for evidence from United
14States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the certifying
15official shall complete and issue the form no later than 21
16business days after the request is received by the certifying
17official. Requests for expedited recertification shall be
18affirmatively raised by the victim or victim's representative
19in writing and shall establish that the victim is eligible for
20expedited review. A certifying official may extend the
21deadline by which he or she will complete and reissue the
22certification form only upon written agreement with the victim
23or victim's representative.
24    (f) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Section, a
25certifying official's completion of a certification form shall
26not be considered sufficient evidence that an applicant for a



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1U or T visa has met all eligibility requirements for that visa
2and completion of a certification form by a certifying
3official shall not be construed to guarantee that the victim
4will receive federal immigration relief. It is the exclusive
5responsibility of federal immigration officials to determine
6whether a person is eligible for a U or T visa. Completion of a
7certification form by a certifying official merely verifies
8factual information relevant to the federal immigration
9benefit sought, including information relevant for federal
10immigration officials to determine eligibility for a U or T
11visa. By completing a certification form, the certifying
12official attests that the information is true and correct to
13the best of the certifying official's knowledge. No provision
14in this Act limits the manner in which a certifying officer or
15certifying agency may describe whether the person has
16cooperated or been helpful to the agency or provide any
17additional information the certifying officer or certifying
18agency believes might be relevant to a federal immigration
19officer's adjudication of a U or T visa application. If, after
20completion of a certification form, the certifying official
21later determines the person was not the victim of qualifying
22criminal activity or the victim unreasonably refuses to assist
23in the investigation or prosecution of the qualifying criminal
24activity of which he or she is a victim, the certifying
25official may notify United States Citizenship and Immigration
26Services in writing.



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1    (g) A certifying official or agency receiving requests for
2completion of certification forms shall not disclose the
3immigration status of a victim or person requesting the
4certification form, except to comply with federal law or State
5law, legal process, or if authorized, by the victim or person
6requesting the certification form.
7(Source: P.A. 100-1115, eff. 1-1-19.)
8    (5 ILCS 825/11 new)
9    Sec. 11. Denials.
10    (a) If the certifying official does not determine that the
11requester is a victim of a qualifying criminal activity, the
12certifying official shall provide written notice to the person
13or the person's representative explaining why the available
14evidence does not support a finding that the person is a victim
15of qualifying criminal activity. The certifying official shall
16submit the notice to the address provided in the request and
17shall provide contact information should the requester desire
18to appeal the decision. The certifying agency or certifying
19official shall accept all appeals and must respond to the
20appeals within 30 business days.
21    (b) Notwithstanding subsection (a), no requester is
22required to file an administrative appeal or otherwise exhaust
23administrative remedies with a certifying official or agency
24under subsection (a) before filing a mandamus action or
25seeking other equitable relief in circuit court for a



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1completed certification form required under Section 10.