Generally warm weather means big business for retailers in Little Village, but reported plans for ICE deportation raids have put a chill on things in the area.
Businesses in the Chicago neighborhood, which typically serve mostly Latino customers, say their shops are quieter than usual. Owners, while nervous to place blame on-camera, were less hesitant off-camera, saying that the threat of ICE agents carrying out raids has contributed to the slowdown in business.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has witnessed the phenomenon with her own eyes.
“I was out over the weekend in Little Village, and there were significantly less people on the street on a beautiful Saturday. The streets should have been crowded,” she said.
Lightfoot’s administration has been a vocal opponent of the Trump administration’s plans to launch a crackdown on undocumented immigrants in the United States, saying that it would not cooperate with any deportation raids by ICE and would cut off federal agents’ access to Chicago police files.
In Little Village itself, there were plenty of residents and visitors who expressed their shock at how quiet businesses were, including Gabriela, who was in from Houston as she visited family in the area.
“It was usually bumper to bumper with the cars and people walking all the time,” she said. ‘I grew up here. I’m a teacher. I taught at the school down the street. This place has a very special place in my heart.”
Community leaders are holding seminars so that residents will know their rights in the event of an ICE raid.
President Trump said last week that he would delay any enforcement action for two weeks, encouraging Republicans and Democrats to work together on an immigration plan compromise. The Senate and House are both currently debating measures to address the crisis at the border, but are squabbling over how best to proceed with competing bills.