Don't Deport Rose

February 17, 2012

Chicago Police violated the "Sanctuary" Ordinance by cooperating with ICE

54 Year-old Cameroonian Mother, Asylum Seeker in ICE custody awaiting deportation

(Chicago, Illinois)--Today, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) expressed its deep concern that Chicago Police Department (CPD) is cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), in violation of the 2006 Chicago “sanctuary” ordinance and preceding city executive orders dating back to 1985.  The Chicago Police Department has violated its longstanding policy, instilled fear in the immigrant community, and wasted precious taxpayer dollars – all in the name of separating families.

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54-year-old asylum seeker and mother of a US Citizen, Rose Tchakounte, was transported by Chicago Police to ICE custody after being held at the CPD station at 18th and State, waiting in a jail cell to be deported.  On Wednesday, the police pulled her over for allegedly failing to signal a turn.  Upon discovering that she had an ICE order against her after she had missed a hearing on her immigration case, CPD contacted ICE to take her into custody--in violation of the 2006 Chicago “sanctuary” City Ordinance city agencies from cooperating with ICE. This ordinance, and the preceding executive orders signed by Mayors Harold Washington and Richard M. Daley, were both lauded and re-affirmed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

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“We call upon Mayor Emanuel and Superintendent Gerry McCarthy to uphold the spirit and letter of this city’s long-standing immigration policy to protect our entire community and all Chicago families,” said Lawrence Benito, ICIRR’s chief executive officer.

Sadly, Rose’s case does not appear to be an isolated incident.  Through our Family Support Hotline (1-855-HELP-MY-FAMILY), ICIRR recently learned of the case of Oscar and Cesar Pelaez, two brothers ages 18 and 19.  Like Rose, Chicago Police arrested Oscar, not ICE.  In contravention of the 2006 ordinance, Oscar was asked whether he was “illegal” and he replied truthfully that he was.  Chicago Police issued him a ticket, but the next day ICE agents appeared at his home and arrested Oscar and his brother.  Oscar and Cesar are now in ICE detention in Kenosha, Wisconsin, awaiting deportation, unable to afford counsel or bond.  Cesar’s first child, a US citizen, is due to be born any day now.

Take action now to stop Rose's deportation!

“Rose’s detention is a stain on Chicago’s record as a global city that welcomes immigrants,” said Alie Kabba, President of United African Organization and Board President of ICIRR.  “We call on Mayor Emanuel to release Rose immediately, apologize to her family, and let it be known that no immigrant should ever have reason to fear our Chicago police force.”

Families who want more information or need referrals for legal or other help can call the ICIRR Family Support Hotline, 1-855-HELP-MY-FAMILY (1-855-435-7693).