Rahm Creates $1M Legal Defense Fund For Chicago Immigrants

By Mae Rice in News on Dec 2, 2016 6:55PM

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Photo: Tyler LaRiviere

As we teeter on the brink of a Donald Trump presidency, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has put together a $1 million legal defense fund for immigrants in Chicago fearing deportation, his office announced Friday.

"Because the election has created anxiety and uncertainty, we've created a legal fund to help ensure immigrants and refugees have access to legal guidance,” said Mayor Emanuel said in a statement. That guidance would include services from legal information to representation.

The announcement comes after Emanuel promised last month to keep Chicago a sanctuary city for immigrants, foregoing federal funding under Trump to do it if need be.

The defense fund was created in collaboration with the National Immigration Justice Center (NIJC).

"Legal counsel ensures that immigrants in our communities can defend their rights and live their lives here in safety and security, and with a sense of control over their destinies,” Mary Meg, Executive Director of the NIJC, said in a statement.

Roughly 150,000 Chicago residents aren't legal permanent residents, according to an NIJC estimate. The fund will allow the NIJC to serve 3,000 new clients, which represents a 50 percent uptick in its activity in Chicago.

Right now it's still unclear where the money in the fund will come from.