Illinois Senate legislation would add citizenship and immigration status to hate crime law

Illinois Senate Bill SB2345 was filed on January 15, 2020 by Senator Iris Y. Martinez (D), an Assistant Majority Leader. The bill's introduction reads as follows:

Amends the Criminal Code of 2012. Includes as a hate crime, the commission of the specified criminal acts against a person because of the actual or perceived citizenship or immigration status of the person. Effective immediately.

On the day it was filed, the bill had its first reading and was referred to the Assignments committee. On January 28 it was assigned to the Criminal Law committee.

The legislation has racked up considerable support from state Senators belonging to the Democratic Party.

Jan 28Robert Peters (D)Added as Chief Co-Sponsor
Jan 28Omar Aquino (D), Majority Caucus WhipAdded as Co-Sponsor
Jan 29Cristina Castro (D)Added as Chief Co-Sponsor
Jan 29Celina Villanueva (D)Added as Chief Co-Sponsor
Jan 29Ram Villivalam (D)Added as Chief Co-Sponsor
Jan 29Linda Holmes (D), Assistant Majority LeaderAdded as Co-Sponsor
Jan 30Patricia Van Pelt (D)Added as Co-Sponsor
Jan 31Jacqueline Y. Collins (D), Deputy Majority Caucus ChairAdded as Co-Sponsor

The sole change effected by SB2345 would be to insert the following boldface text into Illinois Statutes Chapter 720. Criminal Offenses § 12-7.1. Hate crime:

(a) A person commits hate crime when, by reason of the actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, citizenship, immigration status, or national origin of another individual or group of individuals, regardless of the existence of any other motivating factor or factors, he or she commits assault, battery, aggravated assault, intimidation, stalking, cyberstalking, misdemeanor theft, criminal trespass to residence, misdemeanor criminal damage to property, criminal trespass to vehicle, criminal trespass to real property, mob action, disorderly conduct, transmission of obscene messages, harassment by telephone, or harassment through electronic communications …

In the general case, a hate crime in Illinois is a Class 4 felony (1 to 3 years imprisonment) for a first offense and a Class 2 felony (3 to 7 years imprisonment) for a second or subsequent offense.

2018 FBI hate crime statistics for Illinois

Following is the FBI breakdown of the number of hate crime incidents in Illinois in 2018, per bias motivation:

Source: FBI 2018 Hate Crime Incidents, Illinois, per bias motivation
ReligionSexual orientationDisabilityGenderGender

Following is the FBI breakdown of the number of hate crime incidents in Illinois in 2018, by known offender's race:

Source: FBI 2018 Hate Crime Incidents, Illinois, by known offender's race
WhiteBlack or
African American
American Indian or
Alaska Native
AsianNative Hawaiian or
Other Pacific Islander
Multiple RacesUnknown Race
Disclaimer: Information on this website is not legal advice.