Lori Lightfoot’s order gives immigrants access to Chicago’s virus relief


Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot signs an executive order to ensure coronavirus-related benefits offered by the city of Chicago are available to immigrants and refugees, Tuesday morning, April 7, 2020.

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.

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.”

“These individuals are getting hit the hardest,” he said. “They have nowhere to turn for support.”

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.