If Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has access to Chicago police’s gang database, is Chicago really a “sanctuary city”?

“My family was separated by ICE,” read a sign held by Celene Adame at a press conference in Nov. 2017 outside Chicago’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) building where she was giving an update on Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez’s case.

Catalan-Ramirez is Adame’s partner and father of her three children. He was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers eight months earlier in their home in Back of the Yards.

“These have been eight long and difficult months without him,” Adame said. “I will continue to fight for his freedom,” adding that it’s their children who are suffering most.

Catalan-Ramirez has an ongoing federal lawsuit against ICE agents and Chicago police officers, challenging his inclusion in the city’s gang database and violating his civil rights. His arrest, based on being labelled a gang member put him at odds with Chicago’s Welcoming City ordinance, the suit alleges. The ordinance protects undocumented immigrants but not those who are gang members.

READ MORE