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Council adopts immigration measure

Shortly after 2 o’clock this morning Evanston aldermen passed a resolution calling on Congress to adopt comprehensive immigration reform.

The vote came at the end of a council meeting that Assistant City Manager Judy Aiello, who’s worked three decades for the city, said fell just short of the council’s all-time record of 2:30 a.m. for adjournment from a marathon session.

The immigration ordinance was adopted after its sponsor, Alderman Lionel Jean-Baptiste, 2nd Ward, incorporated language acknowledging the city’s existing practice of not challenging the immigration status of those seeking city services.

Resolutions introduced by Alderman Edmund Moran, 6th Ward, that would have codified the city’s immigrant-friendly policies and called anti-immigrant activists racists were rejected, failing to receive support of any other council members.

Opponents of Moran’s measures said they feared their adoption would risk making Evanston the target of increased enforcement efforts by federal immigration agents.

The aldermen also:

  • Asked staff to rework a proposed rental building registration program to provide a graduated fee scale based on building size.
  • Agreed, on a 5-4 vote, to spend $250,000 in federal housing funds to subsidize three units in a five-unit condo conversion at 241 Callan Ave. Alderman Ann Rainey, whose 8th Ward includes the property, said the project would be "throwing money away" given the high number of vacant renovated units in the area.
  • Approved, on an 8-1 vote, spending nearly $400,000 to repair the fountains and other equipment in Fountain Square.

The aldermen also started discussion in their Planning and Development Committee of the proposed 49-story condo development at 708 Church St, hearing a presentation about the project from its developers. They’ve scheduled a special meeting for 6:30 p.m. on Monday, March 17, to hear public comment on the project.

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