Michigan City Group Working for Welcoming City Ordinance

Oct 30, 2017

Michigan City Generating Station, a common sight in and around the city.
Credit Indiana Public Media / Indiana Public Media

MICHIGAN CITY - A Michigan City organization is working to get a Welcoming City Ordinance passed.  Marisa Chaples, founding member of the Michigan City Social Justice Group says the group recently held a community forum to enable people to learn about the proposed Welcoming City Ordinance.

"The Welcoming City Ordinance will protect immigrants here in Michigan City, by the city basically declaring that they will not go out of their way to help ICE, that they will only work with them on a need basis. But if they come to them with say, criminal arrest warrants, obviously the city will work with them," Chaples says.

Chaples started the group right after the 2016 Presidential election because she didn't like what was happening nationally with regards to immigration policy and she wanted do something about it.  She says a Welcoming City Ordinance and a Sanctuary City are different things.

"When people hear Welcoming City Ordinance they immediately assume it's the same as a Sanctuary City status and it's not, Chaples says.  "It's not refusing to work with federal authorities outright."

She says the ordinance basically grants what protections are available to undocumented immigrants in Michigan City.  Chaples says if the ordinance is passed, Michigan City will designate someone within the city to help certify U and T visas.  She says it's a way to help give some security to undocumented people who don't have any protection.  

Chaples also says the ordinance is currently sponsored by councilwoman Pat Boy and will be going before the Human Rights Commission, the Social Status of African American Males Commission and the Women's Commission before it gets on the city council agenda.

She says there is no set date when the ordinance will be on the agenda, but the Michigan City Social Justice group is hoping to get support from all three commissions.  The group meets on the second and fourth Monday of every month.