A Chicago city alderman questioned whether local law enforcement violated its own sanctuary ordinance after a police raid targeting counterfeit clothing took an illegal immigrant into custody.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Alderman Danny Solis, who represents the city’s predominately Hispanic Pilsen neighborhood, said on August 1st that police violated Chicago’s Welcoming City Ordinance.
Chicago, along with several other major cities across the country, has drafted pro-immigrant legislation. Under its dictate, local law enforcement agents are prohibited from collaborating with federal immigration authorities. Solis says officers aided homeland security officials during the raid, which ended with an undocumented migrant taken into custody.
Ald. Solis criticized Chicago police for focusing on what he considers a relatively low-level crime, pointing out that the city had recently experienced one of its most violent weekends in years.
“With all the crime we’ve got going, this is how we spend our resources?” Solis asked.
“They’re not supposed to do any effort—even with a warrant—that collaborates with Homeland Security or ICE … A woman who was a clerk there ended up being handcuffed and taken into custody with Homeland Security,” Solis said.
The controversy, writes the Tribune, stems from a raid which took place last month. Centering on a clothing store, officers confiscated more than 500 pieces of counterfeit clothing and knock-off accessories.
“This woman who has three kids—21, 17 and 16—is now in custody and likely to be deported. If this happened because the Police Department violated a city ordinance, then I think it is outrageous and that’s why I’m calling for an investigation,” Ald. Solis said.
Chicago’s sanctuary city policy, similar to those implemented in San Francisco and San Diego, bars U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers from interviewing anyone in local custody. It also prohibits off-duty cops from passing information to ICE before an individual migrant’s release from jail or prison.
Police say they “made no arrests and took no one into custody for questioning” but that “federal authorities independently questioned a store employee without the assistance or involvement of the Chicago Police Department.”
Department spokespeople say they participated in the raid but weren’t actively investigating the immigration status of any of the store’s employees.
“We don’t question people about their immigration status. We will never do that,” said Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson on Monday. Johnson has been criticized by several of Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s political allies for allowing ICE access to the arrested female migrant.
ICE maintains that the Chicago Police “did not play any role in the arrest,” and that the detained woman was transferred to a facility used to hold immigrants.