Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to make Chicago "the most immigrant-friendly city in the country."
Emanuel said Tuesday he plans to introduce a new ordinance to prevent law-abiding Chicagoans from being unfairly detained and deported. The legislation would incorporate "basic protections," he said, for undocumented locals who haven't been convicted of a serious crime and aren't wanted on a criminal warrant.
"This ordinance is consistent with our values," Emanuel said. "It's consistent with our history and it's consistent with our economic and communal self-interests."
Emanuel made the announcement with Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who commended the mayor for putting public safety above political stunts. "This ordinance protects everyone," Gutierrez said.
Per the ordinance, Chicago police would be trained to build trust, Emanuel, as the city promises crime victims and witnesses won't be questioned about their legal status.
"You see a crime? Report it. You're a victim? Report it," Emanuel said. "The police department is not there as an adjunct for the immigration service. If you have a criminal record, that's different. If you're a good citizen, your immigration status is not a pause button for you to call the police department."
Emanuel said immigrants should feel welcome in the city where roughly 50 percent of new business licenses are applied by new, recent immigrants.
"If you have no criminal record, being part of a community is not a problem for you," he said. "We want to welcome you to the City of Chicago. That was true for my grandfather on my mother's side and it was true for my father when they came to Chicago."
The head of Chicago's Fraternal Order of Police said the move isn't fair to those who are in the country legally.
"As a police officer, I can demand identification from a citizen but not an illegal alien? I never thought I'd see the day when illegals have more rights that U.S. citizens, but I guess it is here. It makes no sense to me," said FOP President Mike Shields.