Pritzker’s immigration “firewall” includes ban on Dwight detention center

Gov. JB Pritzker. (File photo by Dave Dahl/WJBC)


By Howard Packowitz

CHICAGO – It is now illegal in Illinois to run privately-operated immigrant detention centers, like the $45 million proposed detention center in Dwight.

Gov. JB Pritzker on Friday signed into law a package of legislation, building what he described as a firewall against President Donald Trump’s attacks on immigrant communities.

“We will not allow private entities to profit off of the intolerance of this president,” said Pritzker.

Pritzker’s action came as federal ICE agents planned a series of immigration raids this weekend in 10 cities, including Chicago.

The Dwight detention center would have provided 360 high-paying jobs when fully-staffed, according to Dwight Mayor Jared Anderson

Pritzker also signed into law a bill allowing undocumented and transgender students to receive Monetary Award Program grants and institutional aid at approved colleges and universities.

“Every student in this state who wants to go to college should be able to do so without saddling themselves with debt for the rest of their lives,” said the governor.

“After years of driving college students away from Illinois, we’re turning the page to a new era of growth for our colleges and universities.”

The governor also signed a bill banning local police agencies from participating in federal immigration enforcement operations.

“We protect no one by having local police departments as an extension of ICE,” said Pritzker.

“This administration aims to build trust between law enforcement and the communities that they serve, especially so that witnesses can come forward without fear of reprisal.”

Friday’s bill signing ceremony was held at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Howard Packowitz can be reached at


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