AN OPEN LETTER TO CANDIDATE RAHM EMMANUEL

Posted on February 2, 2011

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Of the four major candidates in the race to become Chicago’s next Mayor, three have agreed to maintain the policies of Mayor Harold Washington, Mayor Richard Daley and the unanimous resolve of the Chicago City Council to prevent Chicago Police from acting as an extension or in cooperation with Federal immigration authorities.

            Specifically, all three candidates have agreed to maintain the historic executive order first established by Mayor Washington and continued by Mayor Daley and the Chicago City Council. Chicago has refused the urging of the Federal Department of Homeland Security to enter into a 287g cooperative agreement with Homeland Security or to participate in that department’s Secure Communities Act program.

            Our City has acted with good cause to insure that police would not destroy the relationship with the community that is necessary for safe neighborhoods by taking on the mantle of federal immigration agents. Our city has refused to become a police state where Latinos are profiled in search of hardworking fathers, mothers and students without papers. Moreover, our city council is unanimous in its demand to President Obama that he use his powers to grant temporary status, or parole in place, to stop deportations that separate families with U.S. citizen or Dream Act children.

            Mr. Emanuel, to our knowledge, you are the only candidate who has not committed to maintaining the current policies of our city towards the civil rights of our Latino and immigrant communities. We request that you immediately clarify your position on:

 

 1) Maintaining the executive order on non-cooperation with I.C.E;

2) Maintaining non-cooperation with the 287g and secure communities act programs;

3) Joining the city council’s unanimous demand that President Obama use his existing legal powers to stop immediately those deportations that separate our families.

 

            The voters in our community have a right to a clear and definitive answer to these questions before the election.

            We have good reason to question your commitment to these historic Chicago positions, positions that provide security to hundreds of thousands of families and children in our city. We have good reason since, for the last two years, as White House Chief of Staff, you have actually been in charge of implementing  the national policies that Chicago has refused to carry out.

You have been in charge of the policy that has led to 1100 deportations a day, mostly of those with no criminal records, often of the parents of the 5.1 million U.S. citizen or dream act eligible children living in fear in this nation. You have been in charge of the aggressive campaign by the administration to recruit cities and counties to participate in 287g programs which turn local law enforcement personnel into extensions of ICE. In March of 2008, you were put in charge by the President of moving forward comprehensive immigration reform and you failed miserably to even get a single hearing on immigration reform in either the House or the Senate for two years. As Congressional Campaign Chairman, you urged many of your democratic colleagues to vote for the Sensenbrenner legislation, the greatest attack on the civil rights of our community in decades, which our city rejected in the streets and in the City Council.

For these reasons we have good reason to question you on this most important issue. We cannot allow you to beg the question of your position with a campaign publicity stunt, promising a dream act fund. We do not want our communities to spend the next four years in an environment of fear and in a relationship of distrust with our Chicago police. We do not want to see more of our families separated.

 

We therefore respectfully request that you respond immediately in writing and publically to our questions.

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