Welcoming City Supportive Resources
Chicago stands firm as a Welcoming City
Being a Welcoming City means that we are committed to serving and protecting all Chicagoans. FBI crime data shows that welcoming policies increase public safety by allowing local law enforcement to focus on keeping neighborhoods safe and encouraging immigrant communities to cooperate with law enforcement.
To reinforce Chicago’s status as a Welcoming City and our commitment to inclusivity for people from all parts of the world in the City of Chicago, Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago City Council took extra steps in 2012 with an ordinance that protects the rights of immigrants, and grants all residents access to city services, regardless of immigration status.
The Welcoming City Ordinance also codified local policies to help ensure undocumented residents are not prosecuted solely due to their immigration status. As such, the welcoming City protection covers Chicagoans of all ages—in school, at work and as they seek city supports and resources. This means that Chicago police officers cannot arrest on the basis of immigration status.
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) have also taken extra steps recently to ensure that students have a safe and welcoming learning environment to thrive in, and have reminded staff and students of resources available to them post-election. Parents and families with a child in CPS are encouraged to reach out to their child’s principal or teacher with any concerns or questions they may have.
Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot continues to enforce Chicago's status as a welcoming city by ensuring CPD cannot cooperate with ICE and that all services and benefits provided by the city are available to all Chicagoans, regardless of immigration status.
Welcoming City Research
Far from being a hotbed of criminal activity, studies actually show that there is less crime in areas with welcoming policies than in non-welcoming areas around the country. Additionally, research has demonstrated that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born individuals. Follow the links below for more information:
- Trump says welcoming cities are hotbeds of crime. Data say the opposite. (Washington Post)
- Immigration and Crime – What the Research Says (Cato Institute)
- The Effects of welcoming Policies on Crime and the Economy (Center for American Progress)
Chicago CityKey Program
The City of Chicago has launched CityKey - an optional, valid, government-issued ID card offered to all Chicago residents that will unlock many of the great things our City has to offer. The CityKey card is a photo identification card available to all Chicago residents which will not convey information about national origin or legal status. For many residents who do not have an identification card, CityKey can serve as an official government issued identification and can be used to access city services. Additionally, your CityKey can be used as a library card for Chicago Public Libraries, as well as a Ventra card. Presenting your CityKey at particular cultural institutions and local businesses can also give you a discount. CityKey is now available for free to all Chicago residents. To see all of the discounts offered with your CityKey card please click here. To learn how to apply for your CityKey card, please click here.
Report hate crimes and speak out against discrimination
In Chicago, all residents have the right to live healthy lives, free from hate and bigotry. If someone believes they have been a victim of discrimination, they can file a complaint with the Chicago Commission on Human Relations (CCHR). CCHR also offers a variety of human relations workshops and presentations to schools, religious institutions, youth agencies and community groups. To file a complaint or to speak with an investigator, contact the Commission at 312-744-4111. For more details, visit the CCHR website by clicking here.
The City's 311 operators have been given special instruction to help youth and families connect with supportive services throughout the city as a result of the uncertainty related to the election. Chicago residents are encouraged to call 311 for additional information on supportive services offered through the City, including: services related to human rights; immigration services and health services; services specifically for families, children and youth; and legal services. These resources will be provided in both English and Spanish, as well as other languages as needed. The links below will help direct you to several organizations that provide free services.
Human Rights and Immigration Assistance
- Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights: Call 1.855.HELP.MY-FAMILY (1.855.435.7693)
Health & Wellbeing Resources
- Chicago Department of Public Health: Call 312.746.5905.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics: Tips on how to talk to children about bias and resilience.
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Free, confidential, 24/7. Call 1.800.273.TALK (8255).
- Anyone who is in immediate danger or experiencing an emergency is encouraged to call 911.
It is important to advise residents seeking services to be mindful of fraudulent businesses or organizations that prey on vulnerable residents. For consumer tips, visit the City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) at https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/bacp/supp_info/immigration_assistancelaws.html.
The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection also provides an extensive list of free agency resources that provide services ranging from immigration legal services to domestic violence and discrimination services and much more at below:
- BACP's Consumer Protection Guide
- Consumer Self-Help Resource Guide
- Immigration Assistance Laws
- Legal Services for Businesses
Other recommended providers include: