Testimony in front of Chicago City Hall for Welcoming Cities Ordinance
This week OCAD member Rosi Carrasco, gave testimony in front of city hall to push forward and strengthen Chicago’s Welcoming Cities Ordinance, to push the mayor and alderman’s to take out carve out exception’s of when Chicago Police Department can collaborate with ICE, so that no exceptions exist. OCAD along with Chicago Municipal Immigration Policy Working Group pushed to hold the city accountable and make Chicago safer for immigrants. The ordinance passed committee on September 28th, 2016 and will face city vote on October 5th, 2016.
Chicago’s Immigration Policy Working Group
Testimony before Chicago’s Human Relations Committee
9/28/2016 10:00 AM
My name is Rosi Carrasco. I have been an undocumented resident from Chicago since my family moved here in 1994. I also work with immigrant families facing deportation and have been fighting for immigration reform for many years. Thank you for hearing me today.
In January of this year, we saw a wave of immigration raids around the country that caused fear and unrest in our community. Immigrant rights organizations around the city began to receive calls from members of our community about immigration raids on their block or at the corner store. Members of my organization stopped going to their ESL classes, some students missed classes, and people began avoiding any sort of interaction with the police.
In working with these families, it was difficult to tell them that they were safe, and to explain the difference between police and immigration enforcement when immigration agents show up at our homes wearing vests that read “Police.” We can’t tell the difference. It gets even more difficult when it has been documented that immigration agents lie to get into people’s homes. Just last week there was a Civil Rights complaint filed against the Chicago ICE office when two immigration agents coerced a father of 2 to get him to step out of his church, to take him into custody and deport him.
In a 2013 study by the University of Illinois, it is reported that 44 percent of Latinos are less likely to contact police officers if they have been the victim of a crime because they fear that police officers will use this interaction as an opportunity to inquire into their immigration status or that of people they know.
The amendment to the Welcoming City Ordinance specifically addresses these concerns. It is time that the ordinance includes prohibiting threats of deportation and takes verbal threats from police officers seriously.
We understand that the City is not responsible for the actions of immigration agents, but the City has the power to reject our participation in the unjust separation and targeting of Chicago’s immigrant families. This is why I believe in the Welcoming City Ordinance and why for the last year and a half we have been working with members of the Asian American community and Alderman Carlos Rosa to strengthen the Welcoming City Ordinance.
But I can’t leave here today without saying that, as you know, there is still more work that needs to be done. Even with the passage of this amendment to the ordinance, there are undocumented people, some members of my community and my organization, who remain excluded from these protections. There are still questions about local police participation in immigration raids, and like much of Chicago, questions about police accountability. We look forward to being back here to talk to you about those changes in the future, and to working with members of the City Council and the Mayor’s office to continue this work.
Chicago Municipal Immigration Policy Working Group, including Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the National Immigrant Justice Center, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Organized Communities Against Deportations, Southwest Organizing Project, the Korean American Resource and Cultural Center, Chicago Community and Worker’s Rights, the Chicago Religious Leadership Network, Comité de Trabajadores Unidos – Immigrant Workers Project, Mujeres Latinas en Acción, Latino Union of Chicago, Enlace Chicago, and others.