Mayor Lightfoot Announces Additional Protections and Resources for Chicago’s Immigrant and Refugee Communities

July 12, 2019

Executive actions provide additional investments to expand legal services for immigrants, guidance for all City sister agencies and departments, and terminates ICE access to police databases

CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today announced a package of executive actions to provide additional protections and resources for Chicago’s immigrant and refugee communities in response to the reported targeted deportation raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  

“Chicago has long been a champion for the rights of our immigrant and refugee communities, and today, we’re standing shoulder to shoulder with our fellow neighbors to ensure all residents of the city are supported, regardless of their legal status,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “With one clear voice, we are saying that hate has no place here, and we will never tolerate ICE tearing apart Chicago’s families and communities.”

To protect and support Chicago’s immigrant communities during this period, the new package of executive actions will:

  • Invest an additional $250,000 into Chicago's Legal Protection Fund, increasing its funding by nearly 20 percent;
  • Provide direct guidance and protocols to all City-owned facilities, including libraries, Park District buildings, senior centers and schools;
  • Terminate ICE's access to Chicago Police Department databases related to federal immigration enforcement activities;
  • Reaffirm the City’s commitment not to cooperate with or facilitate any ICE effort to target Chicago’s immigrant families.

Chicago's Legal Protection Fund partners with the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) and The Resurrection Project to provide community-based outreach, education, legal consultations and courtroom representation for thousands of immigrants each year.

The City’s investment in the Legal Protection Fund will also increase access to Know Your Rights trainings across Chicago. These trainings help more than 20,000 Chicagoans each year learn the rights they have when threatened with deportation. They are presented in multiple languages, and occur in neighborhoods across the city.

“The Legal Protection Fund has ensured thousands of Chicagoans have access to trustworthy legal representation as they seek lawful status and protection from deportation," said NIJC Executive Director Mary Meg McCarthy. "With threats of immigration raids looming over our city and ICE arrests already too common an occurrence in our neighborhoods, we must expand the ranks of lawyers who are able to screen cases and defend against rapid deportations without due process. The National Immigrant Justice Center welcomes this increased investment, which will allow us to reach more immigrant families and communities.”

Mayor Lightfoot also provided direct guidance and protocols to all City-owned facilities. Building on the policies already in effect for all Chicago Public Schools, departments overseeing City-owned facilities including libraries, Park District buildings, senior centers and more, will be directed to prevent ICE agents from entering unless they present a verified, criminal warrant. 

Last month, Mayor Lightfoot directed the Chicago Police Department to terminate ICE's access to all of the department’s databases related to federal civil immigration enforcement. Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson also ordered all officers not cooperate with or facilitate any ICE enforcement actions.

“We stand with Mayor Lightfoot in protecting the lives, rights and property of all people in Chicago, regardless of citizenship or immigration status,” said Chicago Police Superintendent Johnson.

Chicago remains vigilant in defending the rights of all of its residents and protecting immigrant and refugee populations from being unfairly targeted by law enforcement officials.


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