Chicago is making major headlines on CNN right now for its mayor’s stance on refusing to cooperate with efforts by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to round up illegal immigrants within the city. This is the latest city to join the list of municipalities that are publicly declaring their opposition to ICE activities in starting deportation proceedings for those who are in the country without proper documentation.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot went so far as to announce that the Chicago Police Department has been directed to cut off any access to its databases for ICE so that the federal agency is not able to identify criminal records or current residences for undocumented immigrants within the city. This announcement was in response to the message from the White House that was released on Monday of last week regarding the anticipated raids on immigrant communities that ICE has been directed to perform to round up an estimated 2,000 undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. Mayor Lightfoot decried the president’s plans as a targeted attack on the country’s immigrant communities and was outspoken in her declaration that she would not be enlisting any of the city’s resources to assist with enforcing his immigration policies. However, Mayor Lightfoot said that city officials and employees, including the police department, will not actively interfere with any ICE raids or impede ICE officials from performing their duties.
This does not come as a surprise to citizens of Chicago because Mayor Lightfoot had previously identified Chicago as a sanctuary city for immigrants and their families. In essence, this means that the city will not be openly hostile to kicking out any undocumented immigrants and will not target them for enhanced civil or criminal penalties based on their immigration status. This is in direct opposition to directives from the federal government that are focused on taking swift action against those who are residing in the country without the proper documentation. There are nine other cities in the U.S. that have been identified by the White House as targets for upcoming ICE raids. These cities have also spoken out against the immigration policies and have stated that they will not be assisting federal authorities in carrying out any ICE raids on immigrant communities. One of the major concerns is that many undocumented immigrants are parents of children who have legal status and would be separated from their families for deportation.