PILSEN — Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia denounced the Trump Administration’s latest effort targeting Chicago and other sanctuary cities, criticizing the president for attempting to scare immigrants and refugees during a critical time — the U.S. Census.
During a press conference in Pilsen Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Garcia, along with other Chicago politicians including Ald. Michael Rodriguez (22nd), Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) and community leaders, pushed back against the federal government’s plan to bring 100 tactical officers to ten sanctuary cities from February to May.
“The timing is no accident,” Garcia said. “The attempt at intimidation has a clear purpose. It is to intimidate our neighbors who are Latinos, African Americans, Asian American communities, in particular, not to open their doors.”
Trump was seeking to have communities “undercounted” so “we…lose federal resources and services that are vital to our community and weaken our political power,” Garcia said.
“We’ve never seen a consistent attack like Donald Trump against non-white immigrants in America,” he added.
The press conference comes at the heels of the Trump administration’s plan to send specially trained Border Patrol officers to arrest undocumented immigrants in Chicago and other sanctuary cities across the country.
In a renewed attempt to crackdown on undocumented immigrants, the New York Times reported Friday U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will be using 100 tactical officers from Customs and Border Patrol in everyday arrests in Chicago, New York City and other sanctuary cities from February to May.
In a statement, Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed the agency will be “utilizing [Customs and Border Patrol agents] to supplant activity to the resource challenges stemming from sanctuary city policies.”
Following the report, Mayor Lori Lightfoot criticized President Donald Trump’s new effort targeted at undocumented immigrants, calling the tactic “fear-mongering and xenophobic.”
“We will not be bullied. Period. Especially by a bully like President Trump,” she said.
Lightfoot reiterated the city’s stance as a welcoming city said police and other city workers were not allowed to assist federal agents during civil immigration efforts.
The reports prompted immigrant right community groups to make sure immigrants and refugees were aware of their rights in the face of an encounter with ICE agents.
During the press conference, Garcia called Trump’s latest efforts as an “anti-Census, anti-immigrant, anti-democracy campaign,” Garcia said. “You see the correlation. It’s crass politics and it seeks to become crass intimidation, we repudiate, in essence, the announcement and the intent by Donald Trump.”
State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said the last three years under the Trump Administration had deteriorated the relationship between immigrants and law enforcement.
“These fearmongering tactics has caused harm between…[immigrant] communities and law enforcement because it is difficult to delineate who is ICE and who is other law enforcement,” Foxx said. “That was purposeful, that was intentional that’s what this was designed to do to keep people in the shadows.”
Foxx reiterated that State Attorney’s office “does not cooperate or engage with ICE. We did not then, we do not now.”
Foxx said her office stood alongside elected officials and community groups to ensure the immigrant community was “healthy, safe and thriving.”
Lincoln United Methodist Church Pastor Emma Lozano echoed the sentiment in standing with the immigrant and refugee community.
Lozano said with so many mixed-status families it was important to stand together and ensure families are counted during the census.
“We will make sure we will be counted and those resources come to our communities,” Lozano said.
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