Chicago Aldermen, Advocates Release City Proposals To Strengthen Immigrant Integration

Chicago aldermen and immigrant advocates unveiled a list of proposals Tuesday aimed at improving the lives of immigrants across the city.

Issues of language access, legal representation, safety and services for immigrants are addressed in the Chicago Immigration Policy Working Group’s six-point immigrant integration plan.

The newly-formed working group is comprised of three Chicago council members, Alds. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th), Ricardo Munoz (22nd) and Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th), and 14 leading immigrant advocacy organizations such as the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, the Latino Policy Forum and the National Immigrant Justice Center.

“Two years ago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel stated that he is committed to making Chicago the most immigrant-friendly city in the United States,” Ramirez-Rosa said at a Tuesday press conference. “As the Chicago Immigration Working Group, we share that commitment, and we’re excited to get to work alongside the mayor to fulfill that goal.”

The group has proposed expanding programs that offer free or low-cost legal counsel to low-income immigrants; revising the city’s “Welcoming City Ordinance,” which looks to protect undocumented immigrants from unfair detentions and deportations, to include a clear separation between police and federal immigration enforcement; amending the city’s “Language Access Ordinance” to cover the Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago fire and police departments as well as accommodations for smaller or emerging immigrant communities; creating a municipal ID card program; establishing a grant or low-interest loan program for low-income immigrants applying for federal deferred action; and improving access to Chicago services for immigrants who are crime survivors or victims of labor or civil rights abuses.

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