The Village of Oak Park was designated a welcoming Village by an ordinance adopted on Feb. 6, 2017 by the Board of Trustees. The ordinance codified the longstanding practice among Village employees – including members of the Oak Park Police Department – of not collecting or maintaining information related to the immigration status of Village residents or visitors.
The ordinance was carefully crafted to not violate federal law, but to clarify communications and enforcement relationships between the Village and the federal government. The ordinance makes it clear that immigration is a federal issue and does not involve the Village or its employees.
In most respects, the ordinance means business as usual in Oak Park since the Village has never routinely included questions about citizenship or immigration status in interactions with residents or visitors.
However, the Welcoming Village ordinance underscores Oak Park’s longstanding commitment to being a welcoming and diverse community. In 1968, the Village became one of the first municipalities in the country to adopt and enforce a Human Rights Ordinance protecting the rights of individuals within the classes of race, sex, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, veteran status, sexual orientation, age, marital status, familial status or disability in the purchasing, leasing, securing a loan, renting or occupying housing or other real estate.