The National Latina/o Law Student Association (“NLLSA”), the largest coalition of Latinx law students across the United States, expresses its disappointment of Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto on SB2204 that would have reduced requirements for proof of residency for student trustees of the University of Illinois’ Board of Trustees. 110 ILCS 310/1 Sec. 1. The University of Illinois Trustees Act requires that candidates for student trustees demonstrate Illinois residency by proving Illinois domicile for the previous six months, an Illinois driver’s license, and evidence of the student’s valid Illinois voter registration. SB2204, passed by both Illinois’ House and Senate, would have reduced the proof of residency to only one of the above listed authentication of residency.
As it currently stands, 110 ILCS 310/1 limits the position of student trustees to United States Citizens in requiring a valid Illinois voter registration card. Voter registration cards are only provided to United States Citizens residing in the State of Illinois and this requirement excludes lawfully admitted students like legal permanent residents (“LPRs”) and recipients of F, J and M visas as well as recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”). In the fall 2015 enrollment numbers compiled by the University of Illinois’ Division of Management Information, over 10,000 international students enrolled in the Urbana-Champaign campus. Governor Rauner noted The University of Illinois is a public institution supported by Illinois taxpayers. A report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimates that undocumented immigrants alone pay $743 million in taxes to the state of Illinois.
Governor Rauner cited the need for Illinois residents to make decisions that impact Illinois taxpayers and the University of Illinois. While we see the need to maintain in-state representation on the Board of trustees, the current law goes too far in restricting who may serve as a student trustee. The law was passed by representatives and senators elected by Illinois taxpayers. Governor Rauner’s veto conflicts with the intent of protecting the interest of Illinois taxpayers. NLLSA stands in solidarity with the thousands of immigrant students denied the ability to serve as trustees at the University of Illinois. The current law discriminates against international students and DACA recipients. NLLSA commends the 99th Illinois General Assembly in passing SB2204 and condemns governor Bruce Rauner’s veto.