Disentangling Police from Immigration Enforcement: Towards World Community with Liberty and Justice for All

Trust between immigrant communities and police is being undermined by attempts to entangle local police in federal immigration enforcement, raising fear of seeking police assistance for fear of deportation. The Illinois TRUST Act (HB 3099/SB 31) seeks to protect and build trust between local police and immigrant communities by limiting local police involvement in federal immigration enforcement.

  • Click here to urge your elected leaders to create a bright line between local police and federal immigration enforcement.

The TRUST Act’s main provisions will:

  • Bar local law enforcement from being deputized as immigration agents or engaging in immigration enforcement without a court-issued warrant
  • Limit arrests based solely on immigration-related information included in federal databases
  • Bar the use of private prisons to house immigration detainees
  • Bar local participation in federal registry programs based on country of origin or religion
  • Include the Immigration Safe Zones Act (HB 426), which bars federal immigration agents from entering state-funded schools or health institutions unless presenting a court-issued warrant.


The historic call from Black Lives of UU for a UU White Supremacy Teach-In has awoken many of us to the reality that white supremacy is not just the overt acts of bigotry that we decry, but is embedded in the “assumptions and practices, often operating unconsciously, that tend to benefit white people and exclude people of color” in our own congregations and institutions. It’s not just the stuff we see happening “out there,” but is rather part of the very air we breathe in and breathe out.

This struck me as I walked onto a plane a couple weeks ago. It somehow hit me that I and all the other white people on the plane could be perfectly oblivious to the racial context in which we operate: Who has the assumed power in this situation? Whose rules are we operating under? Who brings generations of privilege and capital (financial and otherwise) with them? The answer to each of these questions is: me and people who look like me. Each of our congregations and institutions is like that plane.

This call to engage with white supremacy in our own movement reminds me of what Gandhi and King and others have talked about it terms of the ongoing need for renewal of our commitment to the long haul and doing “the hard inner work necessary to center ourselves in love and wisdom” as we build the movement for justice.

This internal work of being transformed is inextricable from our work to transform the world around us. As the UUA Social Justice Empowerment Handbook puts it, “Our ability to create social transformation is linked with our willingness to go through personal transformation in the process. How can we expect the world to change if we’re not willing to ourselves?”

In the spirit of other reflections by the UUA Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries and the Growing Unitarian Universalism blog, and as a cis-gender straight white male serving as the sole staff of UUANI, I need to publicly acknowledge the absence of people of color in UUANI leadership, and that the consequence of not naming or even being aware of my assumptions is that they continue to operate, in ways that can be oppressive to others and myself by leaving me both in charge and on my own. I commit to being more forthcoming in naming these realities, and to being held accountable for my power.

A Latina organizer recent held me to account for the way in which I hold back and keep quiet in situations calling for a response. It’s dangerous, she made clear to me, because all it takes for evil to flourish is for people like me to stay silent.

As this video by Jamaican writer Marlon James points out, it’s not just a matter of being non-racist, but of being anti-racist. I commit to being anti. How about you?


Saturday, April 22, 9am-1pm: UU Prison Ministry of IL Radical Hospitality workshop on welcoming returning citizens at church and partnering with them to transition into life outside of prison, at the Unitarian Church of Evanston (1330 Ridge Ave).

Saturday, April 22: Earth Day March for Science in Bloomington, Carbondale, Champaign, Charleston, Chicago, Palatine, Peoria, Rockford, Springfield, St. Louis and DC.

Sunday, April 23, 6:00 pm (Central): “Whose Faith Is It Anyway? Confronting White Supremacy in Faith Institutions multi-faith panel hosted by Black Lives of UU event (online). RSVP at http://bit.ly/RSVPBLUUWhoseFaith.
Tuesday, April 25, 12 noon: Illinois Women March on Springfield for a progressive agenda and a responsible budget for all at the State Capitol.
Thursday, April 27, 7:00 pm (Central): Black Lives of UU Q&A Webinar for the UU White Supremacy Teach-In. Webinar login will be available April 24. Send questions to uteachin@gmail.com.
***Friday, April 28, 1-5pm: UUANI Organizing for Justice workshop, featuring UU College of Social Justice Executive Director Kathleen McTigue on framing our work in the language of our values, and UUANI Executive Director Scott Aaseng leading a strategy session for the year ahead; at the Unitarian Church of Hinsdale (17 W. Maple).  Register here.

Saturday, April 29: People’s Climate Movement March for Jobs, Justice and the Climate in Champaign/Urbana, Chicago, Carbondale, Galesburg, Quad Cities, St. Louis and DC.

Sunday, April 30, 12:30 pm: Communities Against Islamophobia: Training for Allies at Second Unitarian in Chicago (656 W. Barry).

Sunday, April 30: UU White Supremacy Teach-In at hundreds of UU congregations across the country.

Monday, May 1, 1:00pm: Rise Up! National Day of Action & Resistance at Union Park in Chicago (Ashland & Lake).

Sunday, May 7: UU White Supremacy Teach-In at hundreds of UU congregations across the country.

Sunday, May 7, 12:30 pm: “A Day at Stateville”  theatrical performance at Countryside UU in Palatine (1025 N. Smith St).

Tuesday, May 9: Community Renewal Society Advocacy Day at the State Capitol in Springfield.

Saturday, May 13, 9am-noon: UUANI “Re-Visioning Our Work for Justice” workshop at the Unitarian Church of Quincy (1479 Hampshire).

Saturday, May 13, 9am-5pm: “Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re In Without Going Crazy based on  Joanna Macy’s The Work That Reconnects, at Countryside UU in Palatine (1025 N. Smith St). Registration required.


  • Click here to urge your elected state officials to pass a responsible, full year, fully funded budget.
  • Click here to contact your state Rep to preserve the right of conscience with regard to abortion despite any future Supreme Court decisions.
  • Click here to urge your state legislators to end unlimited solitary confinement in Illinois.
  • Click here to urge your state representatives to allow people who are transgender to correct their birth certificate without being required to undergo surgery.
  • Click here to advocate that the Illinois Solar for All Program be properly funded.
  • Click here to urge your legislator to end cash bail in Illinois and allow pretrial detention only in the most serious cases.

Peace and Power,



Rev. Scott Aaseng, Executive Director
Unitarian Universalist Advocacy Network of Illinois (UUANI)
(773) 726-9082