A few weeks after the Supreme Court ruled primarily in favor of the Obama administration’s immigration enforcement powers in its suit against Arizona, federal officials are now facing resistance from a surprising source, Obama’s hometown of Chicago.
According to the New York Times, Chicago Mayor and former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said he would propose an ordinance that would bar police officers from turning over illegal immigrants to federal agents if the immigrants do not have serious criminal convictions or outstanding criminal warrants.
This ordinance is aimed to make Chicago the “most immigrant-friendly city in the country,” according to Emanuel. “If you have no criminal record, being part of a community is not a problem for you. We want to welcome you to the city of Chicago,” said Emanuel as he spoke in the Latino Little Village neighborhood.
The ordinance would be the strongest of the “sanctuary” ordinances adopted by several cities nationwide, which spare illegal immigrants from being held from deportation if they have committed only minor civil immigration violations.
Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement John Morton linked immigrants with crime in the county, saying, “I am quite confident their approach is ultimately going to lead to additional crimes in Cook County that would have been prevented.”
According to Morton, the Obama administration has discussed “legal options” against the county, and was likely to cut federal funds that reimburse Cook County for detaining illegal immigrants in its jails. The county received $2.3 million dollars of those funds in 2011.
Mayor Emanuel feels that the ordinance will encourage some immigrants to help the police stop the violence that has engulfed the city. “If you’re a good citizen, immigration status is not a pause button for you to call the police department.”