Champaign mayor ICE raids

Champaign Mayor Deb Feinen speaks on the air during WDWS' 'A Penny For Your Thoughts' with Brian Barnhart in the News-Gazette Media studios in downtown Champaign.

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CHAMPAIGN — Following recent national efforts by federal authorities to crack down on undocumented immigrants, Champaign Mayor Deb Feinen reaffirmed Thursday that the city “does not participate in federal matters related to immigration.”

Feinen said in a statement that the city remains committed to “promoting a friendly, inclusive and welcoming community.” Also, she said, Champaign police do not take part in raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or related enforcement operations involving suspected undocumented residents.

The Illinois TRUST Act prohibits local law enforcement from assisting with any federal immigration enforcement operation, the city said, and Champaign police “will not stop, arrest, search or detain anyone solely based on their nationality or immigration status.”

“I want to reassure Champaign’s residents and guests that the City of Champaign remains committed to fostering a friendly, inclusive and welcoming community for all who choose to live here,” Feinen said. “We remain fully supportive of the wonderfully diverse community of immigrants who have chosen to call Champaign home.

“I thank all the members of our community who have extended a warm welcome, neighborly hand, or a reassuring word with those who might be facing adversity during these challenging times.”

But the city won’t be resting on words alone, Feinen said. She said its Office of Equity, Community and Human Rights leads the effort to “foster a welcoming community, having expanded partnerships with the University YMCA’s New American Welcome Center and (hosting) events like citizenship resource fairs and Welcoming Week.”

Feinen added that the city will be taking “an active role” in supporting the 2020 Census to “make sure that all our residents are included and counted in a respectful and culturally sensitive manner,” following calls by President Donald Trump to include a citizenship question in the every-10-years population survey.

“Everyone who has selected Champaign as their home deserves the same opportunity to enjoy a safe, friendly and welcoming environment,” she said.

Reporter

Aldo Toledo is a reporter covering local government at The News-Gazette. His email is atoledo@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@aldot29).