CHICAGO — Chicago immigrants who do not have legal status in the U.S. are eligible for all relief programs run by the city amid the coronavirus outbreak, Mayor Lori Lightfoot ordered Tuesday.
Lightfoot said that includes programs for housing assistance and low-interest small business loans administered by the city.
“This means all benefits, opportunity and services provided or administrated by our city will be available to each of our residents regardless of citizenship status,” said Lightfoot.
Immigrants who do not have legal status in the U.S. are excluded from the $2 trillion federal relief package approved by Congress. The package is limited to those who have filed federal taxes using Social Security Numbers.
Chicago Alderman George Cardenas said that left out people who are “the heart and soul of the service economy.”
“We must meet this moment together. No one can be excluded. And this executive order ensures everyone in Chicago — regardless of their status — has somewhere to turn for support,” said Cardenas.
Immigration advocacy groups have called for additional federal legislation providing financial help for immigrants who do not have legal status but pay taxes using Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers.
“According to the Pew Center, Hispanics — particularly Hispanic immigrants — are one of the sectors most likely to be experiencing hardship,” said 22nd Ward Alderman Mike Rodriguez.