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Activists Demand Cicero Pass Welcoming Ordinance To Protect Immigrants

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Immigration activists on Tuesday called on Cicero officials to pass an ordinance protecting undocumented immigrants from deportation, but local officials said state law already provides the safeguards they want.

Activists rallied outside Cicero Town Hall on Tuesday, chanting "not one more deportation," and demanding officials adopt a so-called "welcoming ordinance" that would protect undocumented immigrants from the federal government.

"We need an ordinance, and we need Larry Dominick to join leaders in other suburbs," said Irene Romulo, with Organized Communities Against Deportations.

Romulo said the activists are bringing the fight to several suburban communities.

"We are seeing increased attacks against the immigrant community under the Trump administration," she said.

Karla Altmayer, co-founder of Healing to Action, said the welcoming ordinance the activists want approved would protect victims of domestic violence from being swept up in federal raids.

"People who are undocumented face the potential for the person or institution harming them to retaliate by reporting them to immigration," she said.

State Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago) defended Cicero, noting the Illinois General Assembly has passed the Trust Act, which would prevent state and local police agencies from arresting or detaining people based solely on their immigration status, or based on a federal immigration detainer.

"It is an historic piece of legislation that protected the rights of all the immigrants," Sandoval said.

Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania said 18,000 to 25,000 undocumented immigrants live in the town.

"We have the largest undocumented population of any community in this state, and the reason they do is because they feel safe," he said.

Hanania said Cicero police do not distinguish between documented and undocumented immigrants.

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