The Legal Protection Fund in partnership with the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) aims to assist thousands of immigrants and refugees threatened with deportation, with already $1 million pledged to start the fund.
“Chicago has a proud history of diversity and inclusion, and my administration will do everything in our power to ensure that immigrants remain safe, secure and supported. Because the election has created anxiety and uncertainty, we've created a legal fund to help ensure immigrants and refugees have access to legal guidance,” said Mayor Emanuel. “I challenge Chicago’s private and philanthropic communities to step up and join us in supporting this legal fund; immigrants have played an important role in shaping our City and we need their talent, drive and determination to continue moving Chicago forward."
“This Fund speaks to the ongoing commitment to defend our immigrant families and uphold the values that make Chicago a sanctuary city. It lets our communities know that they do not need to be afraid. We are united in support and will work to keep all families together” said 25th Ward Alderman Danny Solis.
“The establishment of the legal fund is yet another reaffirmation of the Mayor and City Council to our fellow neighbors, families, and friends across Chicago. We will not allow a callous application of a legal term to strip away the humanity of our immigrant and refugee neighbors,” said 47th Ward Alderman Ameya Pawar.
According to the NIJC, approximately 150,000 Chicago area residents do not have status as legal permanent residents and tens of thousands more are worried about their immigration status. The Legal Protection Fund would work to provide immediate legal information, screenings, consultations, and representation to individuals who may be at risk for deportation.
“Access to legal services can have a life-changing, and sometimes lifesaving, impact for immigrants and their families. Legal counsel ensures that immigrants in our communities can defend their rights and live their lives here in safety and security,and with a sense of control over their destinies. The support of Mayor Emmanuel and the City of Chicago will help the National Immigrant Justice Center increase collaborations with community and faith-based organizations, schools and governmental agencies to bring legal services to more Chicago neighborhoods,” Mary Meg, Executive Director of the National Immigrant Justice Center.