CITY HALL — Chicago will remain a sanctuary city despite President-elect Donald Trump's promise to withhold federal funds from municipalities that protect undocumented immigrants from deportation, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Sunday in a statement.
Emanuel's announcement follows statements on Friday by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee that they would not alter policies that restrict their cities' cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities.
Listen to Heather discuss the city's role as a sanctuary city.
Trump during an interview that aired Sunday on CBS' 60 Minutes said he would "immediately" deport up to 3 million immigrants who are "criminal and have criminal records," citing "gang members, drug dealers." Said Trump: "We are getting them out of the country, or we are going to incarcerate."
In Emanuel's statement, the mayor said he wanted "to assure all of our families that Chicago is and will remain a Sanctuary City.”
“Chicago has been a city of immigrants since it was founded. We have always welcomed people of all faiths and backgrounds, and while the [White House] administration will change, our values and our commitment to inclusion will not," Emanuel said.
City operators who field calls to the city's 3-1-1 system will get "special instructions" to help those concerned about their status in the wake of Trump's election, Emanuel said.
In 1985, then-Mayor Harold Washington signed a sanctuary city policy that prohibited city agencies from asking people about their immigration status though the Chicago Police Department does run background checks on criminal suspects.
In a 2012 appearance at a Little Village school, Emanuel told reporters that the police department is not an "adjunct for the immigration service."
"We're not going to turn people over to ICE" — the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency," Emanuel said according to a Tribune report on the 2012 event.
Trump made immigration a central issue of the presidential campaign. He has vowed to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants and to ban Muslims from entering the United States.
In addition, the president-elect vowed to impose financial penalties on sanctuary cities that shelter undocumented immigrants. There are 37 sanctuary cities in the United States.
On Wednesday, Emanuel said many Chicagoans went to sleep Tuesday night after the election and woke up "despondent this morning and fearing for their future and fearing for the future of their children."
Emanuel acknowledged that undocumented immigrants were fearful that a Trump victory means his administration will move to deport them.
"Do not lose hope, because America embraces you," Emanuel said, speaking directly to undocumented immigrants. "Your dreams are honored here."
Included in the mayor's proposed 2017 budget is $1 million to establish a municipal identification card for undocumented immigrants.
"I know your sense of fear," Emanuel said. "We are a welcoming city. We will stay a welcoming city."
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here.