(The Center Square) – With the city of Chicago now facing a federal lawsuit over Mayor Brandon Johnson’s handling of the ongoing migrant crisis, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis is making sure his constituents are being heard on the issue.
“I believe that listening is learning, and when I run for office I ask for people to vote for me so I can represent them and if I don’t know what they want, I don’t know how they feel, I don’t know what they think, it makes it more difficult to represent them,” Davis, D-Chicago, told The Center Square. “So, I have a tendency on many occasions to ask them how they feel, what they want. I did a town hall this morning with high school students basically asking them the question of what did they want their federal government to do for them, or to do for the country.”
At least 20,000 noncitizen migrants have arrived in Chicago from the southern border in the past year. Chicago and Illinois taxpayers are paying hundreds of millions of dollars to care for them.
Davis is tabulating responses gathered from a survey he recently sent to 7th Congressional District voters requesting feedback on the migration issue. Among the questions posed are if they support migrants seeking asylum and where they stand on Chicago continuing to be viewed as a so-called sanctuary city.
While Davis said he plans to continue collecting responses for at least several more weeks, he added that some findings already are becoming apparent.
“I talked to people who feel like the country should not be letting many of the people into the country,” he said. “There are other people who feel it’s alright, or it’s alright under certain circumstances. In some parts of my district the response is ‘if it’s good for the goose it ought to be good for the gander.’ So, what many African Americans are saying is if we’re going to do some special things for immigrants, then we ought to be doing some special things for low- income African Americans who are already here and sleeping under the viaduct and in abandoned cars.”
While Davis said he agrees with much of that sentiment, he hopes voters can come to appreciate and understand the unique position he finds himself in.
“I represent Greek Town; I represent China Town; I represent Ukrainian Village; I represent Soulville; I represent Bronzeville; I represent the Near North Side; I represent Downtown Chicago; I represent the suburbs and I represent Englewood,” he said. “I represent all these different communities and I want to know what they think … I’m trying to just find out as much as I can find out because I have to make decisions that affect all these people in one way or the other.”
Davis said he anticipates collecting responses for up to three more weeks before determining what next steps to take, which could include crafting federal legislation aimed at easing the burden many residents now insist they feel stemming from the crisis.