Immigrant students in Chicago public schools hail from dozens of different countries and regions — and every child and their family deserves sanctuary in Chicago.
CHICAGO—The CTU is unapologetically standing by its immigrant students and their families, who make up more than 40 percent of CPS’ student population. President Donald Trump’s immigration raids are scheduled to begin after the July 4 holiday and will specifically target immigrant populations in our cities and neighborhoods. While the president postponed planned raids last month, the threat to immigrant families remains very real. If you hear from an immigrant parent or student in need in the coming days and weeks, We have some ground rules and resources that can help them.
“School is officially out for our students—just as thousands of their families are bracing for immigration raids targeting their communities, and perhaps even them and their families,” said CTU President Jesse Sharkey. “Our immigrant students and families hail from literally dozens of different countries. They have rights, whether they’re documented or undocumented, and the Chicago Teachers Union stands by our commitment to support sanctuary and dignity for every immigrant child and family, regardless of their status.”
The CTU has shared resources with members and allies should educators and supporters hear from an immigrant parent or student in need in the coming days and weeks.
Local, state and national immigrant rights projects and government agencies have assembled toolkits, resources and Know Your Rights flyers, as has the CTU, with information about immigrants’ rights and how allies can support them. That includes information to help thousands of immigrants who have fled political repression and state violence from nations that range from Honduras and Guatemala to Saudi Arabia and the Sudan. Some immigrants, including Rohingya, many Kurds and over half of Palestinians are technically stateless and at real risk of permanent incarceration by ICE.
“We condemn Washington’s latest move to arrest and deport undocumented people, and we stand with trade unionists, activists, advocates and people across the nation in pledging to support immigrant families in Chicago and beyond,” said Sharkey.
Resources and support for immigrants and allies include the following:
- The State of Illinois’ has prepared KYR flyers in languages that include English, Polish, Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Russian and Spanish to support undocumented immigrants—including people from these places. Share them widely.
- ICCRR has assembled a Know Your Rights toolkit for immigrants.
- Those who experience or know of someone who experiences an ICE raid should call 1-855- HELP- MY-FAMILY or 1-855-435-7693 immediately and report it.
- OCAD—Organized Communities Against Deportations—has created an infographic called IS IT A RAID? in English and Spanish that includes information on how to identify and report immigration activity. People who see or suspect any ICE activity can contact OCAD, which urges individuals to let OCAD or another trusted organization confirm any suspected raid BEFORE sharing information publicly. OCAD’s hotline number is 855-435-7693, and also provides information about DACA, immigration support and more.
- Rapid response teams are assembling throughout the state to protect immigrant communities. Those who are part of a local rapid response team or would like support in developing one should contact Evelyn Venegas at email@example.com.
- Local groups like La Villita Se Defiende have also produced information and rights flyers. The LVSD flyer can be downloaded and shared at this link.
The CTU has also advised members and allies of three immediate things members and ICE targets can do if they experience ICE enforcement activity:
- If an ICE agent knocks on your door, DO NOT OPEN IT! Law enforcement agents must have a warrant signed by a judge to require you to open your door.
- Record, document and share any ICE activity in the community. Take pictures, use video, get as much information as you can and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on how to safely record ICE activity, CLICK HERE.
- Contact elected officials and community leaders. It’s critical to give local officials and community leaders a “heads up” and urge them to get out statements in opposition every single raid. Click here to find state and federal officials. Click here to identify Chicago Alderman.
“Our immigrant students are our students—and we will stand by them,” said Sharkey. “The City of Chicago can do more, too. While the mayor has taken steps in recent days to declare support for immigrant families and bar the police from cooperating with ICE, the City’s ‘welcoming city’ ordinance remains riddled with loopholes and much weaker than protections in other legislative arenas—including Cook County.”
Mayor Lightfoot campaigned to end those loopholes, and while she’s begun discussing changes to the WCO with advocacy groups, her predecessor’s carve-outs remain in place. A key carve-out remains CPD’s practice of turning over immigrants who are identified in the city’s deeply flawed gang database, which remains in place despite overwhelming evidence that it is riddled with errors, subject to racist stereotyping, and criminalizes people of color guilty simply of being Black or Brown.
Cook County has moved to shut down the County’s own flawed gang database.
“It’s time for Mayor Lightfoot to follow Cook County’s lead,” said Sharkey. “Chicago’s gang database includes more than a dozen people over the age of a hundred and thousands of youth and adults who are guilty only of being stereotyped because of the neighborhood in which they live or the color of their skin. The CPD technically can still turn over people who land in its gang database to ICE under in Chicago’s welcoming city ordinance. That has got to end, if we are to ensure that the strongest possible protections for immigrants are enshrined in City law.”