Ordinances proposed for Bloomington and Normal, IL would declare each city to be a “welcoming city” for immigrants, which would reaffirm to immigrants that the city values them and strengthen the relationship between the immigrant community and the police by ensuring that police and city officials are not participating in federal immigration enforcement efforts.
Why the ordinance is important:
· Signals respect for the contributions that immigrants make to the entire community. Immigrant families, and in particularly children, face disruption and separation due to the loss of family members to deportation and the fear of deportation. Immigration enforcement also takes a toll on businesses and industries that rely on immigrant workers.
· Strengthens relationships between law enforcement and immigrant communities. If immigrants are reluctant to call local police for fear of the police’s cooperation with ICE, crimes go unreported, and perpetrators go unpunished. Law enforcement agencies should recognize the need to build trusting relationships with immigrant communities to enhance the entire population’s public safety.
Limits federal overreach. Federal requests for local assistance in immigration enforcement operations creates an unfunded mandate that pulls local resources away from local issues. Immigration status and law is a federal concern that should be handled by federal officials.
What it would do
· Prohibit the police from using their resources to help federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement “ICE” agents in any way, including prohibiting:
* stopping or holding anyone based on immigration status
* cooperating in ICE enforcement actions by providing surveillance or helping with raids
* allowing ICE agents to question individuals in the custody of the police
* Prohibit the city from entering a voluntary agreement to participate in 287(g), Secure Communities, or other optional federal enforcement programs
· Prohibit the city from collecting and sharing information on the immigration status of its residents
· Prohibit the city or city agents from threatening individuals based on their immigration status
· Prohibit the city from participating in voluntary federal registry programs based on religion (such as any future Muslim registry)
· Require city officials to consider requests for certification for U visas (a way for undocumented immigrants who have been victims of crime and have cooperated with officials to become documented, which is instrumental in building trust between crime victims and police)
Require the police to consider the risk of deportation when exercising its discretion to arrest individuals
What it doesn't do
· Would not protect residents of the city from being deported. ICE can still conduct enforcement operations such as knock on doors or conduct raids. It just prevents city resources from being used to help those operations.
· Would not violate federal immigration laws. The ordinance says local officials will not participate in voluntary programs designed to make local police do the job of federal officials.
Would not provide lawful immigration status. This can only be done by the federal government under federal law.
Links to proposed Welcoming city ordinances