Mayor Lightfoot Signs Executive Order Protecting Immigrant And Refugee Communties During COVID-19 Pandemic

Craig Dellimore
April 07, 2020 - 12:18 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Mayor Lightfoot has signed an executive order guaranteeing that all city relief aid and benefits during this coronavirus crisis will be available to immigrants and refugees, documented or not.

Mayor Lightfoot signed Tuesday an executive order explicitly ensuring that all benefits, opportunities, and services provided or administered by the City of Chicago are accessible to all residents, regardless of birth country or current citizenship status. This makes formal what she said verbally all along. 

“This order is more than just an official decree, it is a statement of our values as a city and as Americans,” Mayor Lightfoot said. “Since COVID-19 first reached our city’s doorstep, we have been working around the clock to ensure all our residents are secure and supported, including our immigrant and refugee communities, who are among the most vulnerable to the impact of this pandemic. Here in Chicago, saying ‘we are all in this together’ means that during this crisis, no one gets left out and no one gets left behind.”

While COVID-19 is presenting challenges of historic proportions to the lives of residents, this order will ensure that all Chicagoans have fair and equal access to benefits, opportunities, and services provided by the city, including anything provided as disaster relief to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This includes the COVID-19 Housing Assistance grant to help with housing costs for individuals and families, online enrichment learning services available to every student at every level regardless of status, and the $100 million Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund to help our neighborhood business," Lightfoot said.

Alderman Michael D. Rodriguez, 22nd Ward, said not all Chicago's residents qualify for federal stimulus checks, state unemployment insurance or other economic assistance "due to their documentation status. These Chicagoans are vital community members who work in various industries and help our great city to thrive every day. These Chicagoans are our family members, co-workers, neighbors and friends. I applaud the Mayor for standing with undocumented individuals and families to ensure their eligibility for any economic assistance offered by the City of Chicago during this global pandemic.”

On other matters, the Mayor said Chicago has received more ventilators from the federal government, though not as many as the hospitals here need.