Migrants relocated before classes resume
As City Colleges prepare to return to classes for the fall, more than 500 migrants who were temporarily housed in college gymnasiums and common areas as a way to relieve pressure on police stations were relocated. In the first week of August, migrants were bused from Daley and Wright colleges to the American Islamic College, a private facility near North Lake Shore Drive, until further notice. Other migrants were transferred to the Broadway Armory Park Fieldhouse—three miles north—from the South Loop police station. To facilitate the school enrollment of migrant children in CPS, city officials have established a pilot “welcome center” at Roberto Clemente Academy on the Northwest Side to offer city and social services in Spanish to migrant families.
St. Adalbert Church draws closer to becoming a landmark
For years, Polish and Mexican communities have rallied to save St. Adalbert, the historic Pilsen Catholic church, from deconversion, sale, and demolition. The Archdiocese of Chicago announced in 2016 that the church would close because repairing its iconic towers and other structures would be too expensive at over $3 million. Despite protests from community members, the church was finally closed in 2019 as part of a broader consolidation of churches, and has received several offers from developers over the years, though none have gone through. Earlier this week, those residents received welcome news when the City’s Commission on Chicago Landmarks voted to recommend the church for landmark status. Dozens of supporters of the landmarking effort showed up to the meeting on Monday, August 7, and celebrated in the aftermath. The church met at least four criteria that the commission uses in its recommendations: its heritage, important architecture, connection to an important architect, and unique visual features. The vote began a landmarking process that will culminate in a vote by all fifty alderpersons at a full City Council meeting.
New law allows non-citizens to become police officers
Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law in late July a bill that will allow for individuals who are non-citizens, but are eligible to work in the U.S. and are authorized to possess firearms under federal law, to become police officers. This caused social media outrage and a misunderstanding of the law as it circled Facebook. Mayoral candidate Willie Wilson went as far as posting a statement to his Facebook calling on the state legislature to repeal the law stating, “Our country is being destroyed by bad public policy decisions.”
Contrary to public belief, undocumented immigrants and refugees are still not able to become police officers under Illinois House Bill 3751. The new law, however, does make way for “DACAmented” individuals and legal permanent residents—who are required to undergo background checks—to one day have police jobs. While DACA recipients are legally authorized to work in the country, they are not able to obtain firearms under federal law. In a fact-check by Reuters, University of Illinois College of Law professor Lauren Aronson told the publication “the bill’s passage means Illinois DACA recipients would be able to move forward as recruits if there [were] a federal shift in the law in the future.”