BACKGROUND

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When President Trump issued Executive Orders barring entry to the United States for refugees and immigrants, JCUA renewed its longstanding commitment to stand in solidarity with our immigrant siblings across Chicago. Today, we fight for the dignity and humanity of all people in Illinois as it continues to be threatened by people and policies advanced by the current administration.

As an organization that has worked to combat discrimination and anti-Semitism for more than 50 years, JCUA will not stand idly by as our country and state advance cruel and short-sighted policies with devastating ramifications. The majority of the people in our own community come from immigrant families or are immigrants themselves. We reject all efforts to target those who are already vulnerable in our city and state; it endangers lives, it stokes the fire of baseless hatred, and it is in direct opposition to our fundamental organizational and Jewish values – welcoming the stranger and collective responsibility.

WHAT IS JCUA DOING?

Campaign for a Welcoming Illinois
JCUA joined the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and dozens of other organizations as part of the Campaign for a Welcoming IL to pass the TRUST Act (SB31), a bill that prevents local law enforcement from collaborating with ICE agents, protecting thousands of undocumented people across the state of Illinois. With the hard work of organizers, leaders, and JCUA members from across Chicago, the TRUST Act was signed into law in August 2017.

Now, JCUA is working with the Campaign for a Welcoming Illinois to pass three further pieces of legislation:

  • SB 3488 (No Registry):  bars state and local agencies from creating or participating in registry programs that single out Illinois residents based on race, national origin, or religion.
  • SB 35 (Safe Zones):  develops model policies to protect against ICE arrests at courthouses, schools, medical facilities, and other sensitive locations.
  • VOICES Act:  requires law enforcement agencies to provide certifications for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking, and certain other crimes who need the certifications to seek federal protections.

Chicago’s Welcoming City Ordinance 
JCUA members are organizing to ensure that the protections provided by the TRUST Act are implemented at the city level by amending Chicago’s 2012 Welcoming City Ordinance (WCO). Currently, the WCO carves four vulnerable populations out from the protections of the ordinance. JCUA is working in coalition with other ICIRR partners to amend the ordinance to bring Chicago’s protections up to the level of the IL TRUST Act.

Alongside that fight, JCUA is working with the Expanding Sanctuary Campaign on #EraseTheDatabase. This campaign is currently focused on getting a moratorium on the use of Chicago’s gang database by the Chicago Police Department while the Office of the Inspector General has the database under review. With the gang database serving as one of four reasons to exclude individuals from the protections of the WCO, and as the targeting of black and brown folks continues to lead to increased threats of deportation, the dismantling of the current system is crucial.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)/Clean DREAM Act
In September of 2017, President Trump signed an executive order repealing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Issued by Obama in 2012, DACA provides undocumented young people who have spent most of their lives in the U.S. legal protections and the hope for a future in the US. Of the 800,000 DACA recipients in the US today, 42,000 live in Illinois. JCUA is working with ICIRR and Protected by Faith to push for a “clean” DREAM Act, with no additional provisions tacked onto the bill for further criminalization of our immigrant siblings. A clean DREAM Act will provide permanent solutions not only for former DACA recipients, but all immigrant and refugees.