Press release from PASO West Suburban Action Project

Berwyn, IL—On Tuesday evening, community residents, organizations, and members of City Council will testify in favor of the Welcoming Village Ordinance. The Welcoming Ordinance bars city officials from contacting, collaborating with, or turning someone to Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) solely because of a person’s immigration status. It draws a firm dividing line between police and ICE by barring access to city databases, facilities, equipment, personnel, and other resources for purposes of implementing registries based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, immigration status, or national or ethnic origin or to conduct civil immigration enforcement. Berwyn, a western suburb of Chicago, is comprised of 62% of Latinos and 26% of foreign-born residents overall. Berwyn will be the second suburban community to pass a strong and inclusive Welcoming Ordinance without deportation loopholes but the first to do so with a large Latino and immigrant community.

“This Ordinance will provide an important layer of protection against deportation and family separation to the Berwyn immigrant community,” said Mony Ruiz-Velasco, Executive Director of the West Suburban Action Project (PASO). “It is a step in the right direction. We are proud to see Berwyn join Oak Park in adopting a strong policy which takes a firm stance against collaboration and deportations. We hope more suburban communities, including Melrose Park, will take heed and follow suit. There is no time to wait,” Ruiz-Velasco added.

“As a Berwyn resident and a daughter of immigrants, I’m proud to see City Council adopt a strong policy that takes a stand against the criminalization of our community,” said Brenda Rodriguez, member of IXCHEL Committee. “We know that when communities have welcoming ordinances, you see lower crime rates, lower unemployment rates and higher incomes. This ordinance will not only make Berwyn safer, but also healthier for all residents.”

Passage of the Ordinance is critical due to the President Trump’s threats to conduct sweeping deportation procedures and his expressed intent to deport 3-5 million individuals, a figure which would surpass President Obama’s record deportation figures.

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