Solis says city violated its sanctuary law
Alderman critical of raid in Pilsen targeting counterfeit sportswear
A Chicago alderman Monday questioned whether the city violated its own sanctuary city ordinance, and criticized the Police Department after a raid targeting counterfeit sportswear in Pilsen led to federal authorities taking a woman into immigration custody.
Ald. Danny Solis, 25th, who represents the Latino Pilsen neighborhood, said an Aug. 1 police raid in his ward violated Chicago’s pro-immigrant Welcoming City Ordinance by collaborating with homeland security officials, a charge police disputed. Solis also criticized the department for focusing on what he considered a relatively lowlevel crime, such as counterfeit clothes, when the city recently experienced its most violent weekend in years.
“With all the crime we’ve got going, this is how we spend our resources?” Solis said.
The controversy stems from a police raid at a store on 18th Street and Ashland Avenue where 500 items were confiscated, police said. During an investigation initiated by citizen complaint, police learned of possible counterfeit and trademark infringement on jerseys, hats and other items, officials said.
Chicago’s sanctuary city ordinance bars police from letting federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have access to people in local custody. Among other things, it also prohibits on-duty police officers from talking with ICE officials before a person’s release, or allowing ICE agents to use local police facilities for investigations or interviews.
Chicago police partner with the Cook County Intellectual Property Task Force, which includes Homeland Security Investigations, and they executed a search warrant at the store, officials said. Police “made no arrests and took no one into custody for questioning,” a police spokesman said in a statement, but “federal authorities independently questioned a store employee without the assistance or involvement of the Chicago Police Department.”
Police officials acknowledged the department was involved in a raid on a convenience store earlier this month but said it wasn’t participating in an immigration action and never would.
But Solis said the woman is a mother of three who is now being held at the McHenry County jail, one of the facilities where ICE holds immigrants.
An ICE spokeswoman said Chicago police “did not play any role in the arrest” and the woman is in the immigration agency’s custody.
The spokeswoman said special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations participated in the raid.
Standing with Mayor Rahm Emanuel at an unrelated news conference, Superintendent Eddie Johnson said his department was there “strictly” for counterfeit merchandise.
“We don’t question people about their immigration status,” Johnson said. “We will never do that.”
Emanuel, who has positioned the city as pro-immigrant in response to President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, said operations into “counterfeit products” are “legitimate.”
“It cannot become an operation about ensnaring a Chicagoan who’s welcome in our city, especially a parent with children,” Emanuel added.