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


Sen. Cristina Castro

Filed: 4/12/2021





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2    AMENDMENT NO. ______. Amend Senate Bill 2079 by replacing
3everything after the enacting clause with the following:
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



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1attorney or is employed in an agency in which all supervisory
2officials are members of a collective bargaining unit.
3Certifying officials shall:
4        (1) respond to requests for completion of
5    certification forms received by the agency, as required by
6    this Section; and
7        (2) make information regarding the agency's procedures
8    for certification requests publicly available for victims
9    of qualifying criminal activity and their representatives.
10    (b) Any person seeking completion of a certification form
11shall first submit a request for completion of the
12certification form to the certifying official for any
13certifying agency that detected, investigated, or prosecuted
14the criminal activity upon which the request is based.
15    (c) A request for completion of a certification form under
16this Section may be submitted by a representative of the
17person seeking the certification form, including, but not
18limited to, an attorney, accredited representative, or
19domestic violence or sexual assault services provider.
20    (d) Upon receiving a request for completion of a
21certification form, a certifying official shall complete the
22certification form for any victim of qualifying criminal
23activity. If the certifying official cannot determine that the
24applicant is a victim of qualifying criminal activity, the
25certifying official may provide written notice to the person
26or the person's representative explaining why the available



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1evidence does not support a finding that the person is a victim
2of qualifying criminal activity. The certifying official shall
3complete the certification form and provide it to the person
4within 90 business days of receiving the request, except:
5        (1) if the person making the request for completion of
6    the certification form is in federal immigration removal
7    proceedings or detained, the certifying official shall
8    complete and provide the certification form to the person
9    no later than 21 business days after the request is
10    received by the certifying agency;
11        (2) if the children, parents, or siblings of the
12    person making the request for completion of the
13    certification form would become ineligible for benefits
14    under Sections 1184(p) and 1184(o) of Title 8 of the
15    United States Code by virtue of the person's children
16    having reached the age of 21 years, the person having
17    reached the age of 21 years, or the person's sibling
18    having reached the age of 18 years within 90 business days
19    from the date that the certifying official receives the
20    certification request, the certifying official shall
21    complete and provide the certification form to the person
22    no later than 21 business days after the request is
23    received by the certifying agency;
24        (3) if the person's children, parents, or siblings
25    under paragraph (2) of this subsection (d) would become
26    ineligible for benefits under Sections 1184(p) and 1184(o)



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1    of Title 8 of the United States Code in less than 21
2    business days of receipt of the certification request, the
3    certifying official shall complete and provide a
4    certification form to the person within 5 business days;
5    or
6        (4) a certifying official may extend the time period
7    by which it must complete and provide the certification
8    form to the person as required under this subsection (d)
9    only upon written agreement with the person or person's
10    representative.
11    Requests for expedited completion of a certification form
12under paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of this subsection (d)
13shall be affirmatively raised by the person or that person's
14representative in writing to the certifying agency and shall
15establish that the person is eligible for expedited review.
16    (e) A certifying official who issued an initial
17certification form shall complete and reissue a certification
18form within 90 business days of receiving a request from a
19victim to reissue. If the victim seeking recertification has a
20deadline to respond to a request for evidence from United
21States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the certifying
22official shall complete and issue the form no later than 21
23business days after the request is received by the certifying
24official. Requests for expedited recertification shall be
25affirmatively raised by the victim or victim's representative
26in writing and shall establish that the victim is eligible for



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1expedited review. A certifying official may extend the
2deadline by which he or she will complete and reissue the
3certification form only upon written agreement with the victim
4or victim's representative.
5    (f) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Section, a
6certifying official's completion of a certification form shall
7not be considered sufficient evidence that an applicant for a
8U or T visa has met all eligibility requirements for that visa
9and completion of a certification form by a certifying
10official shall not be construed to guarantee that the victim
11will receive federal immigration relief. It is the exclusive
12responsibility of federal immigration officials to determine
13whether a person is eligible for a U or T visa. Completion of a
14certification form by a certifying official merely verifies
15factual information relevant to the federal immigration
16benefit sought, including information relevant for federal
17immigration officials to determine eligibility for a U or T
18visa. By completing a certification form, the certifying
19official attests that the information is true and correct to
20the best of the certifying official's knowledge. No provision
21in this Act limits the manner in which a certifying officer or
22certifying agency may describe whether the person has
23cooperated or been helpful to the agency or provide any
24additional information the certifying officer or certifying
25agency believes might be relevant to a federal immigration
26officer's adjudication of a U or T visa application. If, after



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1completion of a certification form, the certifying official
2later determines the person was not the victim of qualifying
3criminal activity or the victim unreasonably refuses to assist
4in the investigation or prosecution of the qualifying criminal
5activity of which he or she is a victim, the certifying
6official may notify United States Citizenship and Immigration
7Services in writing.
8    (g) A certifying official or agency receiving requests for
9completion of certification forms shall not disclose the
10immigration status of a victim or person requesting the
11certification form, except to comply with federal law or State
12law, legal process, or if authorized, by the victim or person
13requesting the certification form.
14(Source: P.A. 100-1115, eff. 1-1-19.)
15    (5 ILCS 825/11 new)
16    Sec. 11. Denials.
17    (a) If the certifying official does not determine that the
18requester is a victim of a qualifying criminal activity, the
19certifying official shall provide written notice to the person
20or the person's representative explaining why the available
21evidence does not support a finding that the person is a victim
22of qualifying criminal activity. The certifying official shall
23submit the notice to the address provided in the request and
24shall provide contact information should the requester desire
25to appeal the decision. The certifying agency or certifying



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1official shall accept all appeals and must respond to the
2appeals within 30 business days.
3    (b) Notwithstanding subsection (a), no requester is
4required to file an administrative appeal or otherwise exhaust
5administrative remedies with a certifying official or agency
6under subsection (a) before filing a mandamus action or
7seeking other equitable relief in circuit court for a
8completed certification form required under Section 10.".