Chicago Promises $1M for Deportation Defense

(ESPAÑOL) Chicago has planned to commit $1 million to establish a legal deportation defense fund for undocumented immigrants at risk of deportation under President-elect Donald Trump’s administration, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Friday. “Anxiety and uncertainty” among the roughly 150,000 undocumented immigrants who call the windy city home was cited as a reason for the move.

The fund, which offered a legal path towards acquiring U.S. citizenship to those at risk of deportation, affirmed Chicago’s status as a “sanctuary city” for those who were uneasy about their ability to stay in the country. Trump has promised to deport 3 million undocumented immigrants immediately upon taking office.

The fund was established in partnership with the National Immigrant Justice Center, an organization committed to protecting human rights for undocumented immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers based in Chicago, to provide ” immediate legal information, screenings, consultations and representation to individuals who may be at risk for deportation,” according to a news release Friday from the mayor’s office.

The money for this program will come from the capital that wasn’t used in a $ 20 million property tax relief program set up by the mayor on Oct. 1, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday. The city spent a mere $1 million dollars of that property tax rebate fund when only 12,000 households applied for tax relief through the initiative, leaving substantial money left over to spend on immigrant resources.

“We’re putting our money where our mouth is as the city of Chicago,” Emanuel said Friday. “I want them to know that the city of Chicago, your children, you and your family, are safe, secure and supported. And we’re gonna put resources to ensuring that you’re safe, secure and supported.”

The Chicago Democratic mayor’s announcement Friday acts in accordance to the rhetoric about immigration from some other mayors of major U.S. cities. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged two weeks ago to “use all the tools at our disposal” to act against any plan by the federal government to deport any of its residents. Los Angeles and San Francisco also allocated resources toward undocumented immigrants, such as providing free ID cards that give them access to numerous city and municipal services.