Mayor Lori Lightfoot signed an ordinance Tuesday closing loopholes in Chicago’s Welcoming City ordinance, prohibiting police from cooperating with federal immigration authorities to deport immigrants living in the country without legal permission who have criminal backgrounds.
The ordinance easily passed City Council last month and she praised it at the time.
“Chicago has been a welcoming city and a city of immigrants since its very founding, and proudly so,” Lightfoot said.
Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, 35th, said “today is such a beautiful day because we’re finally going to make sure that in the city of Chicago our local officials, our local police cannot work with ICE in any case (with) no exceptions.”
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Lightfoot held her news conference as she’s facing criticism over her use of $281 million in CARES Act funding on police payroll and a scathing inspector general report on how the city handled protests following the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd.
Immigrant rights groups have been trying for years to get the city to make the change.
Supporters said Chicago’s immigrant community now will have more confidence that they can call police and cooperate with police investigations without fear they may get deported after coming forward.
Under the amendment, Chicago police no longer will be allowed to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents if arrestees’ names are in Chicago’s gang database, if they have charges or convictions in their background or if they have criminal warrants.
City agencies will be prohibited from detaining people solely because they might be in the U.S. without legal permission, and transferring anyone to ICE custody for immigration enforcement.