Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Rallies With Immigrant Rights Groups Against Recent ICE Raids 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot joined demonstrators outside the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Chicago to protest the agency’s recent raids on the city.

Lightfoot, immigration advocates, and local politicians joined outside Chicago’s ICE field office on September 26 following a recent raid where five people were detained at a pizza shop in the city, WLS reported. The raid occurred at Route 66 Pizza at 10180 S.

Indianapolis Ave. on September 24 CBS 2 reported. The restaurant closed until further notice after ICE detained employees that morning, according to the news station.

In response, Lightfoot tweeted that she was monitoring the situation and said Chicago will always be a “welcoming city” for all its immigrant residents. She also encouraged others to make sure their loved ones knew their rights if an ICE agent knocks on their door.

“We are actively monitoring the situation and engaging with community partners for more information on this incident, and to provide assistance to the affected families,” Lightfoot tweeted. “Chicago is and always will be a welcoming city, and we stand firmly with our immigrant residents. Make sure your friends and neighbors know their rights,” she wrote.

During a press conference on September 26, ICE’s Chicago Field Office Director Robert Guadian criticized the city’s sanctuary policies.

“ICE's mission remains consistent: to identify, arrest, and remove aliens who present a danger to national security or are a risk to public safety,” Guadian said during a press conference.

“These sanctuary laws and policies like those in Illinois prevent local jails from honoring our detainees. ICE has no choice but to arrest these aliens in public places in the community," Guadian continued.

Despite this, Lightfoot stood by the city’s sanctuary policies and said those in the immigrant and refugee communities should not be criminalized over their citizenship status.

“We will reject in the strongest terms possible the characterization of the good, hardworking people that represent the immigrant and refugee communities not only here in Chicago but across the country," Lightfoot said, according to the news station. "To characterize them as criminals and something less than they are. We won’t tolerate that.”

On Twitter, Lightfoot wrote that she was “proud to join immigrant rights activists to stand up for immigrant and refugee communities today and every day.”

“We have and will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters, our neighbors and our friends … We will never succumb to the racist and xenophobic rhetoric of ICE,” Lightfoot said in a statement.

Recently, Acting ICE Director Matthew T. Albence held a press briefing at the White House discussing how sanctuary policies in cities “threaten public safety” and urged the public to hold their local politicians accountable. Sanctuary policies generally mean that local agencies and police do not directly assist ICE.

“As law enforcement professionals, it is frustrating to see senseless acts of violence and other criminal activity happen in our communities, knowing ICE could have prevented them with just a little cooperation,” said Albence. “To the public, who want to live and raise your families in safe neighborhoods, we ask you to hold your lawmakers accountable before you, or someone you love, is unnecessarily victimized by a criminal ICE could have removed from the country.”

In November 2016, then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the city of Chicago would always remain a sanctuary city.

"To all those who are, after Tuesday's election, very nervous and filled with anxiety ... you are safe in Chicago, you are secure in Chicago and you are supported in Chicago," said Emanuel at a previous news conference. "Chicago has in the past been a sanctuary city. ... It always will be a sanctuary city.”

In April, Lightfoot became the first African American woman and first openly gay person elected the mayor of Chicago. Lightfoot defeated Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, another Black woman, with 73.7 percent of the vote, the Associated Press previously reported.

“In this election, Toni and I were competitors, but our differences are nothing compared to what we can achieve together. Now that it’s over, I know that we will work together for the city that we both love,” Lightfoot previously said following her win. “Today, you did more than make history, you created a movement for change.”