City Council Members Introduce Immigrant Integration Plan

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By: Ashmar Mandou

Alderman Carlos Rosa, Alderwoman Susan Sadlowski Garza, and members of the Chicago Immigration Working Group revealed the Comprehensive Immigrant Integration Plan during a press conference Tuesday morning at City Hall, a crystallized six point plan intended to follow the examples of New York City to make Chicago the friendliest immigrant city. The plan, which addresses language, representation, safety, access to relief programs, will soon be introduced in city council in the upcoming months. “We are excited and ready at city hall to work alongside Chicago’s leading immigrant groups to run these proactive solutions into legislations that will make our city the most immigrant-friendly in the United States,” said Ald. Rosa.

The six point plan will: increase support for pro-bono legal representation in Chicago’s immigration courts; amend the “Welcoming City” Ordinance to apply to all residents and ensure consistency between municipal and county policy; assure language access for city emergency services; create a municipal ID available to all Chicago residents; convene stakeholders to make deferred action relief programs accessible and affordable to city residents; and improve access to city services for immigrant survivors and victims of crimes and rights violations. “Chicago is a place that is always understood itself to be a city of immigrants,” said Executive Director of Immigrant Worker’s Project Ana Guajardo. “With a mayoral promise to make Chicago the most welcoming, a city council dedicated to equal treatment for all of our residents, and leadership from the community itself, we are ready to not just follow the examples of New York City and other places, but to be a leader in best practices for immigrant integration at the local level.” Discussions are still in process in regards to the cost of the creation of the municipal ID. Below are some of the points in detail. To read the full six point plan, visit

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Provide pro bono or low-cost representation to low-income immigrants in Chicago’s immigration courts by expanding existing legal services.
Immigrants facing deportation have no right to government-appointed representation in proceedings. In Chicago less than 14 percent of women assigned to the “adults with children docket” in immigration court have legal representation, according to data from Syracuse University. In 2013 New York City launched the first program to provide free representation to low-income immigrants by expanding the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, a public defender program for immigrants in removal proceedings

Expand protections for undocumented immigrants under Chicago’s “Welcoming Cities Ordinance” to align with Cook County policy.
Chicago’s “Welcoming City Ordinance” separating local police and immigration enforcement is inconsistent with Cook County policies. Revising the city ordinance to include all immigrants in Chicago and create a clear line separating local law enforcement and immigration enforcement would show the city’s commitment to the immigrant community, and would create consistency between Cook County and city policies.

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Support the creation of a municipal identification card for all Chicago residents and assure that the privacy of information provided by immigrant families is protected.
Modeled after the New York and New Jersey municipal identification cards, this city-issued identification card would be accessible to all Chicago residents, and would connect them to services, programs, and benefits, regardless of immigration status, homeless status, or gender identity. The cards would also be considered official IDs for city of Chicago services, including interactions with the Chicago Police Department.

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