Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Tuesday signed an executive order ensuring that all city disaster relief and other benefits and services offered to Chicago residents and businesses hard hit by the pandemic will be made available regardless of citizenship and immigration status.
That includes $1,000 housing grants to help with rent and mortgage payments, online enrichment programs for students, $100 million in small business loans and a disaster relief funds that “puts money into the pockets of Chicagoans who have been excluded from needed federal aid programs,”
“This order is more than just an official decree. It’s a statement of our values as a city and as Americans. We are saying, `We are all in this together’ means all of us, regardless of citizenship status. … It means that, in this crisis, we will leave no one behind. … ‘We are all in this together’ is not just a nice sentiment. It is an imperative for who we are, who we will remain as a city.”
Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th), dean of the City Council’s Socialist Caucus, said the mayor’s executive order “does not change city policy.” It simply reiterates the guarantees in Chicago’s Welcoming City Ordinance.
“The federal government has excluded undocumented workers and small business owners from federal relief efforts. If we’re going to close the gap, we need to go beyond simply reiterating the city’s existing policy and create a dedicated local fund to provide support to everyone excluded from federal relief,” Ramirez-Rosa said.
He noted that the City Council’s Hispanic Caucus sent Lightfoot a letter last week requesting that she create a so-called “Immigrant Resiliency Fund.”