New Protections for Chicago’s Immigrants

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - BusinessMayor Lori E. Lightfoot introduced an ordinance on Wednesday afternoon to strengthen protections and provide additional resources for Chicago’s immigrant communities. The Accountability on Communication and Transparency (ACT) ordinance marks one of the largest expansions in Chicago’s immigration protections since the Welcoming City Ordinance was first adopted.

“The ACT Ordinance is more than a piece of legislation, it is statement of faith on who we are city and where our values as a people,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “Chicago will always stand and fight for the safety and protection of our residents and families, no matter the cost. We are a proud Welcoming City and will continue to be a beacon of hope and promise to families from all over the world.”

The ordinance limits City entities and employees from assisting in immigration enforcement operations or sharing data with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Additionally, the ordinance requires the Chicago Police Department to document requests for assistance it receives from federal immigration authorities.

“We really appreciate Mayor Lightfoot, Alderman Rosa, and Alderman Rodriguez’s strong leadership in putting forward meaningful protections for immigrants that we can act on now, particularly while the City is under attack from this Administration and forced to defend itself in court,” said Mary Meg McCarthy, Executive Director of the National Immigrant Justice Center. “There is more work to be done, but this is a real step forward with important reporting measures to ensure compliance.”

The legislation will require the Corporation Counsel, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, to develop policies for City facilities to ensure that these facilities remain safe and accessible to all Chicago residents, regardless of immigration status. The ordinance also ensures that the City takes reasonable steps to establish a service through 311 that provides callers with information on immigration resources, even if the caller has limited proficiency in the English language.

“In the face of continued anti-immigrant attacks from President Donald Trump, it is heartening to see Chicago continue to take steps to strengthen our protections for immigrants,” said 35th Ward Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa.

“The ACT Ordinance is an important step to make Chicago a truly welcoming city,” said 22nd Ward Alderman Michael D. Rodriguez. “This ordinance will improve our protections against ICE raids, expand the resources available for Chicago’s immigrant communities, and reaffirm our City’s commitment to stand up for all residents.”

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