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Will the City Crack Down on Illegal Immigrants? Minutes With the Mayor

In this edition, Mayor David Gonzalez explains City of Chicago Heights' position on going after undocumented immigrants.

Patch gathered questions from readers, for  Mayor David Gonzalez. Now, Patch will regularly air a series of video responses to the questions readers voted as most pressing.

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In this segment, Gonzalez is answering a question on whether the City of Chicago Heights will crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

His answer? No way.

Transcript:

Interesting question. It’s no secret that immigration law is set by the Constitution of the United States of America. It is the federal government’s responsibility to set policy for immigration. It is the federal government’s to enforce immigration law. It is not the responsibility of the State. It is not the responsibility of local government.

We have seen that there are some areas in other states or cities that want to work with the federal government and take some kind of proactive approach in trying to help them on illegal immigration, but we have to understand where we live here. The city of Chicago Heights is a very, very diverse community and we’ve got a very, very high immigrant population in the city.

Back in the 1980s the police community started coming up with a program on how do they start reducing crime. This was nationwide, and they came up with this program that was the community policing. The community policing was: How do we get more residents involved and how do we start building that trust factor between law enforcement and residents? Because if we can build that trust factor between the residents and law enforcement, you have residents that can come and say, “Hey, I’ve been the victim of a crime.” “Hey, I’ve seen a crime. I can help you.” But there has to be that trust factor. Community policing has been very, very effective throughout this country, including Chicago Heights here too.

The statistics of community policing has seen that violent crime has actually decreased where you have strong community policing. Now, I say this because we have to have that trust factor with our immigrant population. Whether you’re black. Whether you’re white. Whether you’re Hispanic, Italian. Whether you’re here illegally or not, we have to maintain that trust factor.

In these other towns that are high in immigrant population that are trying it, they are finding out that it’s backfiring on them. Here’s what they’re doing in these other towns. They’re going in there saying, “Local enforcement, we’re going to try to help the federal government with immigration status.” What you’re doing is you’re decreasing that trust factor with those immigrants, because of racial profiling. Now those immigrants, whether they’re legal or illegal, don’t want to come to the police department to report a crime. (Let’s) say that they’re a victim. They don’t want to do anything to help law enforcement, and it’s not because they don’t want to help. It’s because of their fear of their immigration status. That trust factor starts to go down in those communities, and what happens? Crime starts increasing.

So here in Chicago Heights, we don’t want that. We want our residents to feel comfortable with the police department, regardless of their immigration status. And what we’re going to do as a police department is, if you have code violations, you have local ordinances you’re violating . . . we’re going to enforce those ordinances based on you doing something wrong or needing to comply with something, and never ever based on your immigration status.

I think we would be doing a disservice in a community that has such a high immigration population to ever even try to entertain the fact of trying to police and help the federal government crackdown on illegal immigration in the city of Chicago Heights. It would be a detriment to us.

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Fed UP August 24, 2012 at 02:57 AM
I guess it will be ok with the mayor if I decide to break a few laws since they shouldnt be enforced anyway. I mean hell, I shouldn't be arrested for it or ticketed or fined since I'm sure they don't want to decrease my trust factor. I can't trust the police if they enforce the laws.
jason amos August 24, 2012 at 10:34 AM
Fed Up he is in a great article in the Chicago Tribune Thursday "Son Courts Business from Speakers Allies" 2 Page story Mayor Gonzalez and Chicago Hts in a scandal again,didn't see that coming,can someone put a link up?
Mahdee August 24, 2012 at 12:05 PM
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-08-23/news/ct-met-andrew-madigan-suburbs-20120823_1_mesirow-michael-madigan-insurance-business/2
jason amos August 24, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Thanks Mahdee. Chris can you start a article on this?Would bring some great responses. I'm sure we won't hear from Winston on this,or his response will be why is the newspaper wasting time on this.
Winston Wolf August 24, 2012 at 12:27 PM
It's not a scandal. The contract was competitively bid, and Mesirow had the contract before Andrew Madigan was hired (and before Gonzalez was mayor). Trib didn't have room for those facts, though.
Christopher Paicely (Editor) August 24, 2012 at 12:40 PM
I'll be posting something on this shortly.
jason amos August 24, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Yes Winston its a conspiracy against the Mayor. I think John Couger Melloncamp sang it best,when the walls come tumbling down the walls.
Winston Wolf August 24, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Hardly. The Trib is obsessed with Madigan, so I'm sure their omissions had nothing to do with Mayor Gonzalez.
SharonC August 24, 2012 at 02:17 PM
lol...jason your to funny...but ohhhh so true...im thinking the same thing...i said it in an earlier post...its just a matter of time...and i dont get how anyone can support a mayor whoes breaking the federal law...and dont no one answer its not his responsibility....he should be reporting illegal immingrants to the feds..and you all know it..so keep defending him...will see what happens???? you know the saying.."what goes up...must come down"... theres fine lines you dont cross..this town has been across it for way to long...its about time we got it back...and it will happen...just watch and see :)
David August 24, 2012 at 04:59 PM
All the people saying that local police should be enforcing immigration law are silly. Do you expect them to enforce the tax code too and go after tax evaders? No. Immigration Law is under the federal government's jurisidiction. period. end of story.
SharonC August 24, 2012 at 06:22 PM
so we should just brush it under the table David? is that what your saying? Just as robbing a bank is a federal crime and illegal...if a robber has you at gunpoint in a bank and police get a call...or happend to be drving by when the call comes in..should they just ignore it...and brush that under the table too??? Tell me whats the difference? And where does it start for whoever to stop the illegal immigrants in this town? you tell me? you say its the federal government...just as its the federal government for the bank crime too right? well how do they know if a bank got robbed etc...if its not reported???
judas priest August 24, 2012 at 08:01 PM
seriously, the fact that this guy is our mayor is ridiculous. id rather go back in time and deal with the corrupt mayor and his peeps that were sent to the cushy jail than have this idiot as our mayor. Bring Chucky P back!
Jane Public August 24, 2012 at 09:06 PM
A mayor that endorses looking the other way when it comes to illegal immigrants? I wonder what other crimes the mayor deems it's okay to over look. Call me naive, but I thought that it was the responsibility of law enforcement to prosecute violators of ANY crime---not those crimes they select. If an officer pulls over a person that ran a stop sign, with no driver's license or other form of ID and during the course of his interrogation of this person the officer determines they are in the country illegally shouldn't that person be arrested and deported? I just don't understand what this country is coming to. I'm sick of pressing 1 for English. I'm tired of flipping government documents & forms over so that I can read the English portion. I'm tired of hearing of another college creating special grants and scholarships for undocumented college students. Please don't think that I am a racist, because I am not. I'm a law abiding AMERICAN who doesn't believe we should continue enabling illegal immigrants by in essence rewarding them for breaking into this country by making things easier for them.
GlenHTS August 24, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Jane, You must of flunked the Constitution test if you think Local law enforcement can prosecute ANY Crime. First they don't prosecute, thats the Court System (Judicial govt) . I guess it did not take much for the Mayor to beat his opposition with the type of people posting here. What a group of racist and uneducated people. You can vote wtih a library card? Really? is that what you think?. I don't live in the Heights anymore, but I guess this Mayor will be in for quite some time if you guys are the alternative. Must be very stressful having to push 1 for English. That is so complicated. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ....I think we learned that in grade school. If this Jason Amos and SharonC put thier brains together, I think you guys would still only come up with half a brain. Perhaps , I can suggest a History class or religion class to increase your knowledge in law and being a human being.
Mahdee August 24, 2012 at 10:30 PM
I have to say that this issue has brought out so much hate and personal feelings and there is no reason for such. I feel that some might be over looking the big picture and those feelings might make them say things out of hate or they have a feeling of self guilt. I don’t personally know the Mayor of Chicago Heights. I’m not able to vote for him anyway as I live in County. Now, I want to come to bat for some on here and make this point as clear as I can. The facts are the fact and we need to stop trying to make them so grey. We all know the job of the police is to enforce the laws and we look to them just to do that. Now, once they decide or directed not to enforce all the laws then we are not living a true justice system and lady justice is swinging one way. The facts are that it is the job of the CH police is to question someone during trafficstops. Now, in the process of stopping someone for committing any type of major traffic offenses (as you just can’t stop people just to stop them) or in the job of investigate a crime the police will question that person and ask for some information i.e. DL or state issue Id.
Mahdee August 24, 2012 at 10:31 PM
(Cont) Now if this person does not have such then they will ask Name, DOB and SSN. This is a fact and some might not want to admit it. If you look at any police report you will see this to be true. Now, if that person dose not or can not supply this information to prove who they are then that officer should take it to the next step and that is to inquire does this person have anything to hide and it’s a fact that being in this country illegally is something to hide. Now, if the officer finds that this person is in fact here illegally, they are to detain that person; transport them to Markham or make a call to ICE; at that stage the justice system will do the rest. Now, if the feds want to send this person back to their country then that is on them; but that local police officer has done their job. Now, the Mayor should have kept his mouth shut or side step the question, but his remarks were a shock to me.
Mahdee August 24, 2012 at 10:32 PM
(cont) When the mayor talks about over looking some laws to justify having people tell on others breaking the law or to report crimes then I go back to where does he draw the line? If I’m a drug dealer in the Heights and I get arrested I should have my crimes over looked. Or I’m a single woman in the Heights and my children are hungry and I go into Food 4 Less and take some meat to feed my children and I get caught; well once more I should have my crime over looked. Now those who say that this is apples and oranges just might want to think about why they feel that way. I will say this one more time we should not throw rocks when we live in a glass house or question what anyone feels or thinks. Now it a fact that some parts of IL and all of Chicago have been Sanctuary Cities and it’s a fact that Chicago Heights is one also; just in case no one knew
Mahdee August 24, 2012 at 10:34 PM
I have to say that this issue has brought out so much hate and personal feelings and there is no reason for such. I feel that some might be over looking the big picture and those feelings might make them say things out of hate or they have a feeling of self guilt. I don’t personally know the Mayor of Chicago Heights. I’m not able to vote for him anyway as I live in County. Now, I want to come to bat for some on here and make this point as clear as I can. The facts are the fact and we need to stop trying to make them so grey. We all know the job of the police is to enforce the laws and we look to them just to do that. Now, once they decide or directed not to enforce all the laws then we are not living a true justice system and lady justice is swinging one way. The facts are that it is the job of the CH police is to question someone during trafficstops. Now, in the process of stopping someone for committing any type of major traffic offenses (as you just can’t stop people just to stop them) or in the job of investigate a crime the police will question that person and ask for some information i.e. DL or state issue Id.
SharonC August 25, 2012 at 01:44 PM
a blind person could of listend to that interview and know the mayor is picking and choosing what laws he wants to abide...racist and uneducated? what prt of stupid are you stuck on.. you must be one of those...brush it under the table ppl im guessing...yea lets ignore this law and that law...but will attack the law abiding citizens...like i said..stuck on stupid...smh...and um why dont you reside in chgo hts anymore...what happen..got to be to much for you??? and if you used a quarter of your brain and read all these articles..its not just jason amos and sharon c that feel this way...and religion class? Is that your joke...one of the ten commandments...THOU SHALL NOT LIE!!!!!!! Thats exactly what the mayors doing...turning his head as if he dosent know we have lllegal immigrants in this town..WHEN HE KNOWS WE DO..HE SAID IT..HES IGNORING IT. AND HES NOT REPORTING IT!!!! now you tell me who is brainless GlenHTS???
SharonC August 25, 2012 at 02:02 PM
I agree...some have gotton personal and attacking individuals...but to me that shows thier ignorance bliss of what kind of person they are...i dont really care what anyone says about me...but like you said..the facts are the facts...i just wish EVERYONE would ask thierselves this ? ....if this wasent a law...and mr mayor wasent breaking it? why did he make that statement to begin with? And for the record...just cuz thiers only so many of us writting on the patch...dont think the whole town dosent know this...and if you think were all gonna brush it under the table...think again....yea mr mayor created a big stink for hisself...im seeing an investigation on this town and officails coming real soon...after all he did make the chgo tribune last week...anyone read that article?? Just a matter of time ppl...
Tabitha Wingler August 27, 2012 at 01:02 PM
What happened to unity? I see alot of racist comments, and the day will come when God judges you on that. This is what is wrong with the world today. I happen to know alot of nice people in the heights, but I don't go around asking their legal status here. They are human just like the rest of us. They pay taxes too!!!!
SharonC August 27, 2012 at 09:46 PM
That is so true Tabatha...God will judge us one day...And tho it may seem a racist thing..i myself am not...have not..and wont become a racist...i dont care what race you are...we are taught to live by the laws of the land..not ignore them and break them...if this issue wasent a law..this article would have never been written...but it is a law...the mayor clearly stated he is ignoring it so to speak...so what reaction are ppl suppose to have? This is someone were suppose to trust running our town..and he totally admits he's breaking one of the laws of the land.....and yes god will judge him on that..not us...
David August 28, 2012 at 01:29 AM
"A blind person could of listend to that interview and know..." This is, without a doubt, the funniest start to an internet comment ever. Yes. Blind people can hear. Good job.
David August 28, 2012 at 01:31 AM
The "bank robbery" scenario has no bearing on this discussion. An act of violence or possible violence is policed by whoever is local and on the ground. Once a violation of federal law occurs, then the federal agencies take over. Immigration law is always under federal law. Just like tax law. Do you want CHPD hunting down tax cheats, too?
Mahdee August 28, 2012 at 03:42 AM
Ok how about this; I come across the state line from IN to CH with over 50 pack of tobacco and get pulled over do they let me go or call the feds; or I take a trip to Ultra and have a nice fake $100 bill. Ok I can go on with all a lot of crimes that fall under the Feds and in each and ever case it will be the local police that would take someone to jail and turn them over to the feds… So it’s not about what type of crime they do as any crime is just that a crime and when we bend and shape the laws to fit our needs and wanted then we have broken systems. I understand why some don’t want to see this and why some want to over look this fact; and I agree it easy to say let look the other way; or if it does not personal effect me then why should I care. And this notion that we are this color blind county is a joke; each and every one of us have some type of deep feeling when it comes to race. Shit I lock my door when I pull up on a group of young guys standing on the block; as I call and check my bank info each and everyday to make sure my money has not gone over seas.
Mahdee August 28, 2012 at 03:44 AM
I personal know many Hispanic people and they don’t like me just because my skin is darker then theirs; and the funny thing about that is they have family member who are darker then me. I can say that we have many races of people that are here in this country illegal and they tend to blend in the very best way they can and learn to speak English; and we don’t cater to them and their needs. Now; don’t get me wrong we need to go after the mayor and make sure he is remove from offices as his views are the reason we have so many illegal in the heights in the 1st place. They can live; work and get paid under the table and nothing is done about it. And please people who like to say that illegal’s pay taxes; how in heck can they pay taxes when they don’t have a SS number and they are not working on a work visa or student visa; as if they were then they would not be called ILLEGALS
Mahdee August 28, 2012 at 04:01 AM
So please stop with the post about how someone is racist; as to know what he word mean you will see that we all have some type of racism in us we are a system of ism; be is sex; age or race. The woman that stand next to me in the line at the store and grabs her purse and pulls it close; is she raciest or just a dam fool; when in hell would I take her purse when I can just take the money out of the store; and where in hell can I run anyway. Like I said we all have some type of fears and things we don’t like; I hate to go anywhere and have some Spanish people talking some type of English and then start speaking Spanish when I walk up; shit if you have been in this country more then 2 years you should know how to speak English. If you leave this county and go anywhere you are going to speak the language spoken their or you are SOL. Just Because I Support My Own; Does Not Mean I'm Anti Anyone Else!
NotBuyingIt August 28, 2012 at 09:37 PM
David, During the course of an arrest or traffic stop, if it is determined the the offender is illegal, then call ICE. You don't go around looking for illegals, but you don't have to turn a blind eye either...
SharonC August 29, 2012 at 04:31 PM
wow 138 comments on this article...smh...and at the end of the day guess what ppl....the laws the law...mr mayor is ignoring it no matter how many ppl try to sugar coat it...and they know it...we can go back and forth forever...and it will still be the same...mr mayor needs to fix the prolbem hisself..he knows what he's gotta do..and if he dosent? well...theres always consequences for ppl that break the law...we know that...so i wish him the best and pray he does the right thing...and speaking for myself...i want to add i am not a racist..this has nothing to do with any race..it has to do with the law...somthing that should be enforced..not ignored..
Victor September 01, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Really people? With all the crime in Chicago Heights and you're arguing about immigration laws? Most crimes in the Heights is committed by either citizens or legal residents. Im not saying that illegal immigrants should get passed over but come on people. we have more serious issues to deal with

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