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Chicago City Council rejects sanctuary status referendum

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(The Center Square) – After much debate and pushback from the public, the Chicago City Council voted against asking voters to decide on the city’s sanctuary status.

A City Council meeting this week included public comments from Chicago residents seeking to end the city’s migrant crisis and end their sanctuary city status. A proposed referendum would have given the public a chance to vote on whether or not they wanted to end or continue the policy of not enforcing federal immigration law, but aldermen voted against giving residents that choice.

Chicago Alderman Chris Taliaferro told The Center Square that people are “upset” due to the city refusing to end its status as a sanctuary city.

“My constituents are very concerned about whether or not we remain a sanctuary city and having that opportunity but before them on a ballot,” Taliaferro said. “A lot of our residents, particularly those in the Black community, want to be heard as to whether or not we remain a sanctuary city.”

Nearly 25,000 migrants have come to Illinois from the U.S. southern border over the last year and a half. After public comments this week, city officials gave their opinions on the decision.

Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez and others focused on the handling of the flow of migrants from the southern U.S. border.

“We see a serious attack on our city, which we should all see for what it is,” Sigcho-Lopez said. “We see human trafficking. We see the buses of asylum seekers come inhumanely to the city. A 5-year-old little girl died in transit because of these inhumane policies.”

Alderman Raymond Lopez said the migrants are coming to this country illegally because they have no other options available.

“These individuals are, yes, using a backdoor to get into this country because, yes, the federal government has failed to fix the front door since 1987,” Lopez said.

Many, including Gov. J.B. Pritzker, have said that this problem can be relieved by offering work permits to the arrivals.

“We have had dozens of people sleeping at the 14th district police station up until recently,” Alderperson Daniel La Spata said. “We have businesses up and down Milwaukee Avenue and throughout Logan Square who are saying ‘all we want is to be able to hire these folks.’ Then, a quarter mile away, we have people who are saying ‘all we want to be able to do is work.'”

The referendum was rejected and will not go on the ballot for the upcoming election cycle.

City and state funds to deal with the crisis have totaled nearly $700 million this year alone.

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