According to a recent article from the Chicago Reporter, several groups are calling on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to enact reforms in the way Chicago Police are allowed to interact with the undocumented population in Chicago. Right now it is estimated that nearly 7% of the Chicago population is undocumented. That equates to over 180,000 individuals that these reforms would protect.
Under current city ordinances and executive orders, it is against city policy for city employees to deny benefits based on the immigration status of an individual. Additionally, city employees are prohibited from inquiring about the immigration status of an individual. Mayor Emanuel also limited how Chicago Police can cooperate with federal immigration officials in order to deport individuals detained by Chicago Police. But Reform groups say those protections aren’t enough and would like to strengthen those prohibitions. According to the Chicago Reporter, under a proposal suggested by a collection of immigration reform groups, several more projections would be enacted, such as:
- “Eliminate exemptions that allow police to work with federal authorities when dealing with undocumented immigrants who are either wanted on a criminal warrant, convicted felons, charged with a felony, or identified gang members,
- Create a system of public accountability under which violations of the ordinance would be reported to either the Independent Police Review Authority or any successor agency; and for non-police employees, the Office of the Inspector General. An annual report on violations would be made publicly available,
- Redefine “coercion” in the municipal code to include verbal threats related to immigration status, and
- Prohibit police, as well as other city employees, from making deportation threats.”
Reform activists say that these new protections will go a long way in making the immigrant community in Chicago feel safer and less threatened. Activists feel like this is the perfect time to offer these reform proposals as Chicago examines how police officers interact with other facets of the community. There was no indication yet of whether the mayor was going to act on the proposals and if so, how they would be enacted.