CITY HALL — Mayor Rahm Emanuel Friday pledged $1 million to defend immigrants threatened with deportation.
The fund, in partnership with the National Immigrant Protection Center, will provide immediate legal information, screenings, consultations for undocumented immigrants, according to a statement from the mayor.
The additional funds will allow the center to serve 3,000 additional residents, an increase of 50 percent, according to the mayor’s office.
“Chicago has a proud history of diversity and inclusion, and my administration will do everything in our power to ensure that immigrants remain safe, secure and supported,” Emanuel said. “Because the election has created anxiety and uncertainty, we’ve created a legal fund to help ensure immigrants and refugees have access to legal guidance.”
Approximately 150,000 Chicago area residents do not have status as legal permanent residents and tens of thousands more are worried about their immigration status, according to the center.
“This fund speaks to the ongoing commitment to defend our immigrant families and uphold the values that make Chicago a sanctuary city,” said Ald. Danny Solis (25th.) “It lets our communities know that they do not need to be afraid. We are united in support and will work to keep all families together.”
Emanuel said he would ask “other private and philanthropic partners to join the effort to support these families in need gain access to legal services,” according to a statement from his office.
A spokeswoman for the mayor’s office did not immediately respond to a question about the source of the funds.
Emanuel has said Chicago will remain a sanctuary city despite President-elect Donald Trump’s promise to withhold federal funds from municipalities that protect undocumented immigrants from deportation.
Trump made immigration a central issue of the presidential campaign. He has vowed to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants and to ban Muslims from entering the United States.