Chicago hesitantly advances towards sanctuary for criminal illegal aliens
Back in July, Chicago Aldermen Carlos Ramirez-Rosa and Michael Rodriguez introduced an ordinance that would eliminate exceptions in Chicago's sanctuary city statute, called Welcoming City. Those exceptions allow police to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The four exceptions, or “carve-outs”, are for illegal aliens who have outstanding criminal warrants, past felony convictions or a pending felony charge, or whose names appear in the city’s gang database. The Aldermen perversely argued that their ordinance would make Chicago safer because it would give “residents” confidence to call 911 without fear of getting deported.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot campaigned for office on a platform of eliminating those four exceptions, but later said that the gang database had to be dealt with as a separate issue. A report released this spring by City Inspector General Joseph Ferguson said the gang database is maintained with little oversight and grants police officers wide discretion over which names are added. Chicago officials want to “fix” that.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot would leave carve-outs in place, for now
At Wednesday’s meeting of the Chicago City Council, Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduced an ordinance called “Accountability on Communication and Transparency” that was billed as “one of the largest expansions in Chicago’s immigration protections” in the history of Chicago's Welcoming City sanctuary ordinance.
The proposed new regulations would limit city entities and employees from assisting with federal immigration law enforcement operations or from sharing data with ICE. The Chicago Police Department would be required to document requests for assistance from federal immigration agencies.
Still, despite years of demands from immigrant activists, the Black Youth Project, Hispanic aldermen, the ACLU and the Chicago City Council’s Progressive Caucus, the carve-outs will remain in place for now. Chicago Police officers will continue to be permitted to cooperate with ICE when aliens with a criminal background are involved.
Federal money talks
In August 2017, the City of Chicago filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice over efforts to cut off funding for sanctuary cities. At stake were funds from the U.S. Justice Department Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program. In 2016, Chicago received $2.3 million in Byrne JAG funding and used it to purchase SWAT equipment, police vehicles, radios and tasers.
The Chicago Immigration Working Group reacted to the lawsuit with an accusation that
the primary purpose of the lawsuit filed by the City of Chicago is not to defend the rights of undocumented Chicagoans but to preserve federal funding for the Chicago Police Department.
Evidently the Chicago Immigration Working Group believes that nothing in this world is as pure, holy and righteous as a criminal illegal alien in Chicago.
As reported in the Chicago Sun-Times article on the Chicago City Council meeting, Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, “dean of the City Council’s Socialist Caucus”, agrees with mayor Lightfoot’s incremental approach.
The carve-outs are included in the ongoing litigation with the federal [government]. The fear was that, if we touch the carve-outs at this point in time, that it would jeopardize the case that the city has against the Trump administration.