With no discussion but with residents’ support during public comment, aldermen unanimously approved an ordinance that makes Evanston a “welcoming city.”

According to a memo from Corporation Counsel Grant Farrar, the ordinance prohibits City departments and officials from inquiring about the immigration status of anyone requesting City services. The law also defines parameters for police actions that do not involve the enforcement of civil immigration law and for “situations in which “the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency is attempting to enforce civil immigration law.  Further, Evanston police officers may not “question crime victims, witnesses or other law-abiding residents about their citizenship status.”

Students and faculty from Evanston Township High School and representatives from Latino Resources spoke in favor of the ordinance. ETHS student Hugo Flores, a member of the Dreamers’ Club, said he spoke for a friend who had come to the U.S. at the age of 7 but “is afraid to speak because people would ask, ‘Are you legal? Do you have documents?’”

Michelle Vazquez and Amy Moore, co-sponsors of the Dreamers Club urged the Council to pass the ordinance. “I am an unafraid educator,” said Ms. Vasquez. “We support our undocumented students and want the City to support them as well.”

Northwestern University professor John Cutler said University administrators, in response to a strident petition, has reaffirmed its commitment to students regardless of their citizenship status.

Only Madelyn Ducre, a long-time Evanston resident, spoke against the ordinance, saying, “I feel that this City ordinance is wrong. … Illegal people here in America? It’s illegal. Think twice before you do this, because it is not right.”

Mary Gavin

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...