Lightfoot signs revised Welcoming City ordinance

Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) led the campaign to eliminate exceptions in the ordinance that had allowed Chicago police officers to cooperate with federal immigration officials in some situations.

SHARE Lightfoot signs revised Welcoming City ordinance
 Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot signs a revised version of the Welcoming City Ordinance at City Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. Joining her were (from left) Instituto del Progreso Latino President and CEO Karina Ayala-Bermejo, Ald. Rossana Rodriguez (33rd) and Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th).

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot signs a revised version of the Welcoming City Ordinance at City Hall on Tuesday morning. Joining her were (from left) Instituto del Progreso Latino President and CEO Karina Ayala-Bermejo, Ald. Rossana Rodriguez (33rd) and Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th).

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Chicago Police officers can no longer cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement under any circumstances, thanks to a groundbreaking ordinance signed Tuesday that culminates a five-year-long campaign by immigrant advocates.

“Being a welcoming city means being a city ... where no one has to fear … walking down the street,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

“That means being a place where every resident knows with certainty that, when they reach out for support … they will not be putting themselves or their families in danger of being separated, harassed or torn apart.”

Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) led the campaign to eliminate exceptions that had allowed Chicago police officers to cooperate with fedearl Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents if targeted individuals: were in the city’s gang database; had pending felony prosecutions or prior felony convictions; or were the subject of an outstanding criminal warrant.

He got nowhere with former Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He had to convince Lightfoot to introduce a stand-alone ordinance after she tried to use eliminating the so-called carve-outs as a political sweetener to win Hispanic votes for her $12.8 billion budget.

Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) speaks during a press conference at City Hall in the Loop, Tuesday morning, Feb. 23, 2021, where Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot signed a revised version of the Welcoming City Ordinance.

Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) speaks during a press conference at City Hall on Tuesday, where Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot signed a revised version of the Welcoming City Ordinance.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

On Tuesday, all was forgiven.

“It’s a beautiful day because ... we will be able to tell the people in our community, ‘Do not be afraid to call 911 if you are undocumented or a family member is undocumented because there is no way that phone call will result in you or your family member being turned over to ICE,’” Ramirez Rosa said.

Ramirez-Rosa argued the carve-outs “created a situation where undocumented Chicagoans could be deported” before being allowed to “prove their innocence or appeal their inclusion” on the gang database.

“That is why undocumented Chicagoans and their allies fought this fight: To ensure that, in no case with no exceptions, could CPD work with ICE,” he said.

Her voice breaking, Ald. Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez (33rd) argued “this incredible achievement” should be “dedicated to the people who actually had to suffer” before the exceptions were eliminated.

“To the women who lost husbands and had to take care of their children on their own. To the neighbors that showed up to help with fundraising so that people could pay their rent when a breadwinner was removed,” Rodriguez Sanchez said.

Ald. Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez (33rd).

Ald. Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez (33rd) attended Tuesday’s signing of a revised Welcoming City Ordinance, calling it an “incredible achievement.”

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Lightfoot has branded Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st) “racist, xenophobic and misguided” for warning that revising the ordinance is “welcoming criminals to our city.”

Napolitano didn’t back down Tuesday.

“We’re gonna see an influx of criminals hiding in the city of Chicago,” Napolitano said.

“An ordinance like this just handcuffs our police officers even more. If you … looked at our astronomical crime rates in homicides, shootings, burglaries, carjackings, you would say maybe this isn’t the best ordinance to be signing, along with our governor just completely destroying the police departments across the entire state with the [sweeping police reform] bill he signed yesterday.”

Napolitano is the first generation son of an Italian immigrant. He represents a Far Northwest Side ward filled with immigrants from Italy, Poland, Ireland and Germany.

That’s why he’s demanding Lightfoot apologize to him simply for daring to disagree with her.

“If you want to call me something, I’m fine with it. I’ve got thick skin. Doesn’t bother me. But ... calling me a racist and a xenophobe when I have a wife and three kids and that makes their lives hell on earth ... she better f---ing act like a real woman and apologize to my wife and three kids for her bull-s--t f---ing statement,” Napolitano said.

“She should publicly apologize to them and say, `You know what? I’m a failure. I’m sorry I’m a failure. It’s the first thing that came to my mind because I realize I’m failing and I had to say something.”

Lightfoot was in no mood to apologize.

She argued it’s a “complete red herring” to claim that eliminating carve-outs would make Chicago less safe.

“There’s no evidence that somehow immigrants or refugees commit more crimes than people who were born here in this country. That is just a bogus argument that has no bearing in fact,” she said.

The Latest
The man, 47, was stabbed multiple times about 5 p.m. Wednesday. A 41-year-old man was taken into custody.
With 89 days until the convention kicks off, organizers and state and local officials meet with the media and woo influencers who could connect with hard-to-reach voters. Mayor Brandon Johnson said the convention will “happen in the greatest freaking city on the planet.”
The debate around police in schools has been a thorny one since the social justice protests in the summer of 2020 after a Minneapolis police officer murdered George Floyd. A Springfield bill on the issue is the latest backlash to Mayor Brandon Johnson’s Board of Education.
He died after slipping and falling in the shower while house-sitting for a friend in Brussels, Belgium, TMZ.com reported Wednesday.
The top 10 albums culminated Apple Music’s inaugural 100 best albums, which started with a 10-day countdown last week.