Ever since Republican Donald Trump won the presidential election, Chicago-area politicians like Mayor Rahm Emanuel and U.S. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, both Democrats, have vowed to fight his proposal to deport millions of people living in the country illegally.
Now they are taking into action. On Tuesday, Emanuel, Gutiérrez and Sen. Richard Durbin announced a new task force called “Chicago Is With You” that will work to protect and assist immigrants in the city.
“At a time when the anti-immigrant rhetoric is at a fever pitch, Chicago is going to do everything we can to make sure that we keep families and communities safe,” Gutiérrez said in a press release, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The 23-member group will be co-chaired by the three politicians and will include aldermen, immigration advocates as well as union, business, religious and community leaders.
According to officials, the task force will “collaborate on mental health, legal services, diversity training for employers and education [in an attempt to offer] comprehensive services to immigrants, refugees and other disenfranchised communities.”
Emanuel has vowed to maintain Chicago’s status as a so-called “sanctuary city” that doesn’t cooperate with immigration agencies on deporting undocumented migrants. While Trump has threatened that any sanctuary city won't receive federal funding, the mayor said that there has been a “tremendous show of support” for his position, with a number of organizations pledging their support and expertise in the endeavor.
“The task force brings all of those resources together under a common goal to ensure we are delivering comprehensive services to these communities in need,” Emanuel said, according to the Sun-Times.
The "Chicago Is With You" initiative includes a website that will provide information to immigrants and people who entered the country illegally and are protected from deportation by Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Gutiérrez has said that an effort to revoke DACA would constitute a “declaration of war.”
For his part, Durbin was quoted in the statement as saying that he was proud to be part of the task force.
“History will judge where we stood when families feared being ripped apart by deportation or turned away as they fled terrorism or violence around the world,” he said.
Earlier in the week, Trump called Emanuel, who served as Obama’s first chief of staff, reportedly to ask advice about the transition to the White House. They were scheduled to meet in New York City on Wednesday morning.
About their conversation, Emanuel told reporters, “We talked about a range of things that he was interested [in] and a range of things that I wanted to be clear about,” according to the Sun-Times.
“I’m also not a shrinking violet,” he said.