Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced on July 10 at a news conference that he would like to create a new ordinance that would prevent undocumented immigrants without a criminal record living in Chicago from being unfairly detained and deported. According to NBC Chicago, the law would include “basic protections” for immigrants who aren’t wanted on a criminal warrant or have been convicted of a serious crime.
The source reports that Emanuel said that individuals without U.S. citizenship should not fear living in Chicago, and that the new ordinance reflects the history of Chicago and the city’s “economic and communal self-interests.”
“If you have no criminal record, being part of a community is not a problem for you,” he said. “We want to welcome you to the City of Chicago. That was true for my grandfather on my mother’s side and it was true for my father when they came to Chicago.”
According to the New York Times, the mayor said his goal is to make Chicago the most “immigrant-friendly city in the country.”
Despite the fact that Emanuel’s announcement has gained positive responses from many immigrant supporters, especially those living in Chicago, John Morton, the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that the ordinance would not be consistent with federal law, according to the New York Times. Since the city of Chicago is govererned differently than the rest of Cook County, the ordinance would allow city law enforcement officials to determine which immigrants to turn over to federal agents.
The federally mandated program Secure Communities has yet to come to Illinois, it is expected to by the end of the year. The program is currently in place in most states, except for Illinois and Alabama, yet will expand to these states as well since President Obama decided to expand the program to a nationwide-wide initiative.