Mayor Emanuel Proposes New Protections for Illegal Immigrants

Yahoo Contributor Network

According to the Chicago Sun-Times , on Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed a new ordinance regarding the way the city detains undocumented individuals. If approved by City Council, these restrictions would be much more relaxed and make the city more lenient, specifically that undocumented individuals would only be detained by police if they have a criminal warrant or have been convicted of a serious crime.

Here are some facts and details about the mayor's new proposal and what it would mean for Chicago:

* The Associated Press noted that Mayor Emanuel, joined by U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez in today's announcement, is calling the ordinance "immigrant-friendly" and that he is emphasizing that it includes added protections for illegal immigrants.

* Police would only obtain undocumented individuals if they have a warrant issued by either local or federal authorities or have a conviction on a serious crime.

* Chicago Tribune reported that Chicago will also maintain its already established policy, which has been in effect since the 1980s, of prohibiting agencies across the city from asking about the immigration status of people seeking social services.

* The Chicago Police Department will also not ask crime victims, witnesses, and other law-abiding citizens about their immigration status or run background checks solely for deportation orders.

* Additionally, officials will continue to cooperate with federal authorities like the Immigration and Customs Enforcement when it comes to catching violent criminals who may also be undocumented.

* Mayor Emanuel's proposal comes after years of a loophole in the city's policies, namely that there is no standard on what is to be done when police run a criminal check on an individual and find a deportation order.

* Rep. Gutierrez supported the mayor by saying, "I have made a priority the reform of our immigration system. If the mayor of Chicago is going to work toward making Chicago a model city in respect to its treatment of immigrants, then I'm gonna stand with that mayor."

* Mayor Emanuel also spoke about the importance of the ordinance to Chicago's immigrants, "If somebody has a criminal background, I want 'em in jail or out of the city. If you're an immigrant and you have no criminal background, I don't want that to be prohibitive from you contacting the police."

* An article from CBS Chicago added that one of the reasons behind the new policies is because the mayor does not want undocumented Chicagoans to be afraid of contacting the police: "I can't be advocating for the community to work with the Police Department if people are worried about their immigration status, so they don't report a crime."

Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. Currently pursuing her master's degree in environmental science, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.

View Comments