Welcoming City Ordinance Amendments Pass

STATEMENT from the Chicago Immigration Working Group upon passage of amendments to the Chicago Welcoming City Ordinance

In today’s session of the City Council, Aldermen passed amendments to Chicago’s Welcoming City Ordinance. The Chicago Immigration Working Group issued the following statement after the passage: 

Today we celebrate five years of community work. It has been five years of countless meetings with our City Council members, rallies, protests, calls, petitions, and undocumented people sharing their experiences with the Chicago Police. Five years ago, the Chicago Immigration Working Group (CIWG) launched our campaign to amend Chicago’s Welcoming City Ordinance to remove carve outs that undermined the ordinance’s goal of severing ties between Chicago Police and ICE. Chicago cannot claim to be a sanctuary for all while also categorizing immigrants as either deserving or undeserving, valuable or disposable.  Tired of waiting for then-Mayor Emanuel’s administration to act, in 2017 the CIWG worked with Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa to introduce these amendments in the Chicago City Council.  During the 2019 mayoral elections, then-candidate Lori Lightfoot joined the call to remove the carve-outs.  With today’s vote, we have finally won this victory. 

For too long, immigrants have been subjected by the Chicago Police Department (CPD) to the additional punishment of deportation after coming in contact with a racially biased criminal legal system. Immigrants faced the nightmare of simultaneously navigating both the criminal legal system and the immigration system. For five years, the CIWG has worked to end this nightmare and ensure that immigrants have the same protections and rights as all Chicago residents. Today we are happy to see that our collective actions have moved us a step closer to truly being a sanctuary for all. 

Today, our immigrant, Black, and brown communities have won a majority vote of affirmation from City Council. The Welcoming City Ordinance will now ensure that under no circumstance will the Chicago Police or any other city agency obey ICE detainers or warrants or collaborate with ICE on immigration operations. Today the city of Chicago is closer to assuring constitutional protections for everyone regardless of immigration status. We celebrate this victory, and we will continue to fight for safe, thriving communities so that one day we can say that Chicago is a true Sanctuary for All. 

The coalition of organizations involved in the Chicago Immigration Working Group advocating for changes to the Chicago Welcoming City Ordinance includes Access Living, AFIRE Chicago, Arab American Action Network, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago, Beyond Legal Aid, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos, Chicago Community and Workers’ Rights, Chicago Jobs with Justice, Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America, Enlace Chicago, Grassroots Collaborative, HANA Center, The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, Latino Union of Chicago, National Immigrant Justice Center, Organized Communities Against Deportations