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Liquor license denied over immigration status

The Evanston City Council, which recently urged the federal government to be more welcoming toward immigrants, found itself turning down an immigrant for a restaurant liquor license Monday because of a city ordinance that is more restrictive than state law.

The city ordinance requires that liquor license holders by U.S. citizens, even though state liquor laws are more permissive, letting someone who is a legal permanent resident also qualify for a liquor license.

As a result, the city turned down the application of Smithprin Chantarangkul, the new owner of Ruby of Siam at 1125 Emerson St., to renew the restaurant’s liquor license, because he a permanent resident, but not a citizen.

Alderman Lionel Jean-Baptiste, 2nd Ward, said the Administration and Pubic Works Committee wants city staff to investigate the possibility of making the city ordinance match state law.

Mayor Lorraine Morton, who also serves as the city’s liquor commissioner, said that another option would be for the owner to set up a corporation to hold ownership of the restaurant, and that the corporation could apply for the liquor license, avoiding the citizenship issue.

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