Rule changes move for­ward for po­lice, ICE co­op­er­a­tion

Would re­quire doc­u­men­ta­tion of help re­quest

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - CHICAGOLAN­D - By John Byrne je­[email protected]­bune. com Twit­ter @_john­byrne

A plan to re­quire Chicago po­lice to doc­u­ment re­quests for help from fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials moved for­ward Fri­day, set­ting the stage for the city to adopt new rules that fall short of the com­plete end to such co­op­er­a­tion that some al­der­men and ac­tivists want.

Though Mayor Lori Light­foot cam­paigned for mayor on a plat­form of clos­ing loop­holes in Chicago’s Wel­com­ing City Or­di­nance that al­low po­lice to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion in some in­stances to U.S. Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment agents, she has not fol­lowed through since tak­ing of­fice in May.

The city is en­gaged in on­go­ing lit­i­ga­tion against Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion, which with­held fed­eral pub­lic safety grant money from Chicago and other so­called sanc­tu­ary cities. To change the city’s rules now by end­ing the carve-outs would jeop­ar­dize that law­suit, ac­cord­ing to the Light­foot ad­min­is­tra­tion.

In­stead, Light­foot in­tro­duced an or­di­nance last month aimed at cod­i­fy­ing lim­its on such co­op­er­a­tion and mak­ing sure there’s a record of the in­ter­ac­tions and re­quests from ICE for help. The mayor’s of­fice called the pack­age “the first step in a longer process of strength­en­ing the city’s im­mi­gra­tion pro­tec­tions, which must in­clude elim­i­nat­ing ex­cep­tions to the Wel­com­ing City Or­di­nance.”

Nu­bia Will­man, di­rec­tor of the city’s Of­fice of New Amer­i­cans, said Fri­day that Light­foot will act to re­move the loop­holes once the lit­i­ga­tion is re­solved.

South­west Side Ald. Michael Ro­driguez, 22nd, said he’s con­fi­dent the mayor will fol­low through.

“We re­ceived a pub­lic com­mit­ment to­day,” Ro­driguez said. “We’ve re­ceived pri­vate com­mit­ments from the mayor that she’s on board with end­ing the carve-outs. She cam­paigned on it, and the same is true for me. I cam­paigned on it, I pub­licly com­mit­ted to it to­day. So I’m go­ing to hold my­self ac­count­able, and I know the mayor will as well, to work with us on the carve­outs once the lit­i­ga­tion gets past us.”

Chief of Pa­trol Fred Waller on Fri­day told al­der­men that po­lice no longer re­main on the scene if ICE agents carry out im­mi­gra­tion raids for non­crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties. Video of po­lice watch­ing im­mi­gra­tion agents carry out a raid in Septem­ber on the South­east Side have alien­ated res­i­dents there, who now fear call­ing 911 to re­port crimes, ac­cord­ing to Ald. Su­san Sad­lowski Garza, 10th.

Fri­day’s vote sets up the full City Coun­cil to likely pass the changes next week.

Al­der­men and ac­tivists have long pushed to fix what they said were the short­com­ings in the Wel­com­ing City Or­di­nance.

There are cur­rently four fac­tors that al­low po­lice to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion about peo­ple liv­ing in this coun­try il­le­gally to ICE of­fi­cials: when the peo­ple liv­ing in the U.S. with­out le­gal per­mis­sion have out­stand­ing crim­i­nal war­rants; when they have past felony con­vic­tions or a pend­ing felony charge; or when their names ap­pear in the city’s con­tro­ver­sial gang data­base.

Af­ter her elec­tion, Light­foot said she op­posed the “knee jerk” clo­sure of the loop­holes be­cause she wanted to take a more de­lib­er­a­tive look at fix­ing the gang data­base.

Light­foot did or­der the Chicago Po­lice Depart­ment to deny ICE ac­cess to all the depart­ment’s data­bases re­lated to fed­eral civil im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment, ar­gu­ing that move ad­dressed ac­tivists’ con­cerns. But im­mi­grant sup­port­ers said she didn’t go far enough to elim­i­nate the pos­si­bil­ity of po­lice co­op­er­a­tion.

Also Fri­day, the Health Com­mit­tee ap­proved the mayor’s nom­i­na­tion of Al­li­son Ar­wady to be city Health Com­mis­sioner. Al­der­men had pre­vi­ously blocked Ar­wady’s ap­point­ment be­cause many were an­gry the mayor won’t re­open city-run men­tal health clin­ics.

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