Last week, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security informing them that the State of Illinois is formally withdrawing from the Secure Communities program, a federal deportation program that seeks to deport hardened criminals but is also used to deport illegal immigrants arrested for misdemeanor crimes. Governor Quinn pointed out that nearly one third of illegal immigrants deported in Illinois were never convicted of any crime. Quinn originally had stopped the state of Illinois from participating in the program since November because he was concerned about its effectiveness. He had asked that the Department of Homeland Security provide proof that the program can be implemented effectively and sent the letter withdrawing after he said he was not satisfied that the flaws could be fixed. At the same time, the Illinois Senate passed a local DREAM Act bill that would provide for privately funded scholarships and other financial assistance to students who were brought to the United States illegally. A federal DREAM Act failed to pass in Congress. The state measure now needs to be passed by the House of Representatives and be signed into law by Governor Quinn. Governor Quinn has indicated that he would support such a measure.
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