As an organization that has worked to combat discrimination and antisemitism 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. Many 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.
CURRENT AND RECENT CAMPAIGNS
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.
Currently, JCUA is working with the coalition to increase the Immigrant Services Line Item (ISLI) in the IL state budget, and to pass two bills:
- Keep Illinois Families Together Act (KIFTA): Develops model policies to protect against ICE arrests at courthouses, schools, medical facilities, and other sensitive locations, and prohibits the collection of sensitive immigration information at the state level.
- Retain Illinois Students and Equity (RISE) Act: Grants access to state funded scholarships for currently excluded groups, including undocumented, trans, and federally funded students.
Last year, JCUA worked with the Campaign for a Welcoming IL to pass two pieces of legislation:
- SB3488 (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.
- SB34 (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 with the Chicago Immigration Policy Working Group 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 Coalition 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. In February, JCUA was part of a coalition that successfully passed an #EraseTheDatabase ordinance in Cook County, an important step forward locally and nationally.