Inclusion of Immigrants in COPA Does Not Make a Welcoming City

Raids PR
Annibal, OCAD member giving testimony at ICE raids press conference on August 9th, 2016.

 

 

(Chicago, IL) — On October 5, 2016 the Chicago City Council voted to approve the ordinance that would replace the  Independent Police Review Authority and replace it with the Civilian Office on Police Accountability (COPA), and added language to the Welcoming Cities Ordinance protecting Chicagoans from deportation threats from police and other city employees.

Below is a statement from Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) regarding the need for further work by the City of Chicago to be considered pro-immigrant:

The City of Chicago still needs to make significant changes both to its police accountability policies and those that affect the City’s immigrants, including the Welcoming Cities Ordinance.  We stand with Black-led organizations who have been calling for community lead changes to the way that the City of Chicago addresses police misconduct and violence, particularly the efforts to establish a Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC).

While the inclusion of immigrant  rights concerns is important, and we are proud to have been a part of the fight in city council that led to the improvements to the Welcoming Cities ordinance, the limited reforms proposed by the Emanuel administration are insufficient, lack real enforcement on  over-policing immigrant and Black communities.

The lack of accountability of civilian oversight on CPD to monitor and track its abuses not only in immigrant communities, but also Black communities is unacceptable. If the city truly wishes to be a real welcoming city to immigrants, the Emanuel administration needs to keep its word, and take out the exceptions out to the Welcoming City Ordinance, and break once and for all any CPD and ICE collaboration.

The Emanuel administration also needs to  address how police operations happen within immigrant communities and how racial profiling by CPD contributes to how immigrants in Chicago end up in deportation proceedings.  We have seen an increase in DUI checkpoints and police saturations in mainly Immigrant and Black communities throughout the South Side. OCAD has addressed this issue in the past year, and we are still waiting for answers on why Black & Latino neighborhoods are targeted over others.

Chicago must stand with immigrants now more than ever, when Welcoming Cities are being attacked and with xenophobia on the rise.

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Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) is a community based organization in Chicago that organizes against unfair and inhumane immigration enforcement practices that impact immigrant communities. We fight case by case, person by person, at the same time that we work to change the implementation and enforcement practices that criminalize our community.

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