Immigration Groups Unite at Rally for Aurora Law to Prevent Profiling

Four separate immigration groups came together for a rally Saturday afternoon in Aurora in hopes of raising awareness about immigrants’ contributions to the city and also to seek a law protecting immigrants from being profiled.

Shortly after 2 p.m., the rally was held in the parking lot of Wesley United Methodist Church, 14 N. May Street. At the event, representatives from Indivisible Aurora, The Aurora Huddle, People Power and Immigrant Liberation Alliance came together to listen to a slate of speakers and then participate in a mile-long march down Galena to City Hall.

Retired pastor Deb Fisher and current coordinator for Aurora Huddle said the purpose of the rally was to “celebrate the contributions of immigrants to the City of Aurora and also (to) highlight our desire to get an ordinance before our City Council for discussion and a vote.”

Fisher said the ordinance, called “#One Aurora” was proposed in March of 2017, and would codify existing practices of not racially profiling residents or making assumptions if English is not someone’s first language.

“The practices of our current police Chief, (Kristen) Ziman, as well as the police department … have all been excellent,” Fisher said. “We agree they are all doing an excellent job, but leadership can change and we’d like to make this a law.”

Fisher said the ordinance has not progressed because new policies must first go through the mayor’s office, where she said officials argue there is no need for a law because the practices already exist.

Mayor Richard Irvin spoke by telephone before the rally and said there are already protections in place — namely the Constitution of the United States and the Illinois Constitution.

“These protections are in place to insure we have no discrimination and, furthermore, Aurora goes above and beyond that to insure fairness and equality regardless of someone’s documentation status,” Irvin said. “In my discussions with this group, my sense is that they are talking about limiting ICE, or immigration customs enforcement, and that’s somewhere where Aurora has no local jurisdiction but is regulated by the federal government.”

By David Sharos for CHICAGO TRIBUNE
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