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New Chicago Ordinance Inspired by Case of African Woman

Posted: Jul 10, 2012


CHICAGO -- Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday introduced the "Safe Families Ordinance” to prevent police from asking about the immigration status of those who have not committed a serious offense.

"The history of this city is written by immigrants and this ordinance is consistent with our values, our economy and personal interests," Emanuel said during a press conference in front of a school in the city's Mexican neighborhood Little Village. Emanuel was joined by Congressman Luis Gutiérrez, D-Ill.

The Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights said the ordinance is the direct result of protests against the detention of an African immigrant woman in February.

Rose Tchakounte, 54, a native of Cameroon who had a pending asylum claim, was detained for a minor traffic violation. When police discovered that she had a pending deportation order, they turned her over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Tchakounte was detained for two days and then released as a result of negotiations by the mayor, but her case inspired protests by immigrant rights groups who say the police had violated the spirit of a 2006 city ordinance and a 1985 executive order by the mayor that prohibit Chicago law enforcement agents from carrying out immigration duties.

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