Aldermen on Evanston’s Human Services Committee adopted a resolution Monday calling on the federal government to reform the nation’s immigration laws.
But they rejected on a 4-1 vote a resolution that would have also codified existing city practices of not inquiring about the immigration status of persons seeking government assistance.
The issue now goes to the full city council where it’s expected to be on the agenda for next Monday’s meeting.
Most aldermen on the panel had expressed reluctance to address the issue when it was first raised last fall by Alderman Edmund Moran, 6th Ward.
They said the resolution would make no change in existing city policy and would draw activists on the issue from outside the community to Evanston.
But Moran, aided by a group of pro-immigrant activists, developed the so-called "humane and just treatment" resolution anyway.
Alderman Lionel Jean-Baptiste, 2nd Ward, responded with the substitute resolution approved Monday that only addressed federal immigration policy.
Jean-Baptiste, an immigrant from Haiti, voiced fears that addressing city policy in the resolution could lead to federal immigration authorities targeting immigrants in Evanston for enforcement activity.
Jean-Baptiste’s resolution calls for federal legislation that would:
- Provide a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants in the country who have not committed crimes against society.
- Allow undocumented parents of American-born children to remain in the U.S. under temporary protective status.
- Reduce delays in processing immigration documents.
- Devote more resources to processing immigration requests at the border and less to deportation efforts.
- End discriminatory treatment of applications for immigration relief on the basis of race, gender, national origin or economic class.