Rahmmigration, Romneygration, and Federalism
That same week, however, Emanuel made an even more consequential, if less widely noted splash with his announcement of the proposed “Welcoming City Ordinance,” which (it has been reported) he may formally introduce at the City Council meeting scheduled for later this morning. The ordinance would clarify and extend existing policies restricting the circumstances under which Chicago police officers may inquire about immigration status during encounters with members of the public:
The ordinance builds on an existing ordinance and longtime City policy that prohibits agencies from inquiring about the immigration status of people seeking City services, and provides that the Chicago Police Department will not question crime victims, witnesses and other law-abiding residents about their legal status. It will now be expanded to ensure that undocumented Chicagoans will only be detained if they are wanted on a criminal warrant by local or federal authorities, if they have been convicted of a serious crime and remain in the United States illegally, or if they are otherwise a clear threat to public safety or national security.
The ordinance provides for CPD training in conjunction with immigrant advocacy groups to build trust within immigrant communities; and the development of public marketing materials that outline the services that law abiding immigrants can safely access in the city of Chicago. CPD will continue to cooperate with federal authorities in investigating and apprehending violent criminals who may be undocumented immigrants. [link]
The proposed ordinance is the latest in a slew of initiatives designed — as Emanuel has repeatedly put it since taking office — to make Chicago the “most immigrant-friendly city” not just in the United States, but “in the world.” (Emanuel discussed his overall vision for immigration in Chicago during an interview with Univision last summer.) In his inauguration address, Emanuel endorsed the Illinois version of the DREAM Act, which was adopted into law later that summer. Soon after taking office, Emanuel also established a new Mayor’s Office for New Americans, an immigrant integration initiative intended to facilitate immigrants’ access to city services and programs by (among other things) improving language access, enhancing opportunities for immigrant small businesses, and increasing the involvement of immigrant parents in Chicago’s schools.
“He has not stood up for immigrants. He has not moved comprehensive immigration reform forward. He has not made the right decisions, he has made political decisions,” Gutierrez said. “That's not what the immigrant community deserves in the next mayor of the city of Chicago.”
Gutierrez considered a run of his own for mayor before deciding to return to Washington and support Gery Chico's bid for city government's top spot. [link; video]
“If the mayor of the city of Chicago is going to work to make Chicago a model city with respect to policy and its treatment of immigrants, then I'm going to stand with that mayor,” Gutierrez told reporters. [link]
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In last night's debate, for example, he was asked about his preferred approach to immigration policy, and Romney responded, "I think you see a model in Arizona."
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Romney is an inflexible opponent of the DREAM Act; he's palling around with Pete Wilson and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach; he endorses a "self-deportation" agenda; he's critical of bilingualism; and his casual dismissals of "amnesty" and "illegals" are a staple of his campaign rhetoric.
Romney, by any reasonable measure, is the most right-wing candidate on immigration of any competitive presidential hopeful in generations. [link]
Other immigration restrictionists, however, have taken note of the contrast between Arizona and Illinois. At a hearing before a House subcommittee – held the same morning that Emanuel appeared with Gutierrez in Chicago to announce his proposed ordinance – ICE Director John Morton got an earful from Republican members of Congress pressing the administration to move as aggressively against some of the immigration-related policies being implemented in Illinois as it did against Arizona’s SB 1070 and Alabama’s HB 56. Morton signaled that legal action against Cook County may indeed be on the horizon – in which case action against Chicago might not be too far behind if it adopts Emanuel’s apparently similar proposed ordinance.
Shorter Romney campaign: "Hey, look over there!" *runs out of the room*— daveweigel (@daveweigel) July 12, 2012
Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois are not the only subnational jurisdictions vying to be “anti-Arizonas” on the subject of immigration. In recent weeks, Washington, D.C., has adopted an ordinance influenced by the Cook County ordinance, and the California Senate adopted the TRUST Act, which would establish essentially the same policy on ICE detainers statewide in California. Last year, the governors of New York and Massachusetts joined Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn in seeking to opt-out of ICE's Secure Communities program. In these jurisdictions and others, a significant impetus for legislation has been concern that ICE — contrary to its stated enforcement priorities — has been using state and local police to target individuals who lack serious criminal records or outstanding warrants, and that the net result has been diminished trust and cooperation with the police among members of immigrant communities.