The City of Chicago Safe Families Ordinance prohibits police and other law enforcement officials from detaining undocumented immigrants unless they are wanted on a criminal warrant or have been convicted of a serious crime.
The ordinance is important given the rising gun violence in Chicago. Law enforcement must have the trust and cooperation of all residents, including immigrants, if the city is to improve the safety of neighborhoods. Immigrants should feel they can contact the police without being afraid of being turned over to ICE officials.
Among other things, the ordinance calls for the training of police when dealing with immigrants who are victims, witnesses or law-abiding residents who would not otherwise be questioned or detained in connection with their immigrant status. While Chicago police officers can honor the Secure Communities program mandate to detain immigrants and turn them over to ICE, they can base their decision on whether Chicago’s public safety interests align with federal immigration priorities. In cases in which people pose no threat, the updated ordinance allows police to base their decision on the most urgent public safety needs.