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Lawmakers OK More Religious Access for Jailed Immigrants

SHARE Lawmakers OK More Religious Access for Jailed Immigrants

Some religious workers led by nuns have won a victory in Springfield that could give them more time with some immigrant detainees.

The Illinois legislature Thursday passed a bill that could affect jails in McHenry and Pulaski counties. Those jails hold some U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees.

The bill’s supporters say it would provide those immigrants the same access to ministry that other jail inmates have. Sister JoAnn Persch of Chicago has been lobbying for the immigrants.

PERSCH: They’ve been ripped apart from their families. They’re not hardened criminals. They didn’t have the proper papers, overstayed a visa. They deserve the support of their church.

Supporters of tougher immigration enforcement testified against an earlier version of the bill.

ICE says it already provides its detainees access to religious workers.

A spokesperson for Governor Rod Blagojevich says he hasn’t decided whether to sign the bill.

I’m Chip Mitchell, Chicago Public Radio.

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