The White House says President Trump’s proposal to send illegal immigrants to so-called sanctuary cities is undergoing a ‘complete and thorough review.’
It’s a controversial plan that’s drawn fire from opposition Democrats, immigration advocates, and the legal community. Chicago is among dozens of U.S. cities and jurisdictions classified as offering ‘sanctuary.’
CGTN’s Dan Williams reports the threat does not appear to be causing much concern.
The vibrancy of Chicago’s predominantly Hispanic Pilsen neighborhood is evident. This area has long been the first stop for many immigrants. Chicago is a sanctuary city, meaning local authorities do not cooperate with immigration and customs officials, generally allowing immigrants to live and work freely.
The Trump administration’s threat to release thousands of illegal immigrants detained at the Mexican border into these cities across the country comes as little surprise to The Resurrection Project, a community group in Pilsen.
Laura Mendoza is an Immigration Organizer for the group.
“I think the administration has put in a lot of pressure to sanctuary cities. They have threatened to take away federal funding, they have learned to do all these things. But sanctuary cities have actually stood up to the administration. So I actually see this just as another attack that sanctuary cities are going to stand up to,” Mendoza said.
The threat from President Trump follows a surge in the number of central American families seeking asylum at the southern border. More than 100,000 migrants were apprehended at the border in March.
Rosalba Pina is an immigration lawyer in Chicago. She fears an already overburdened system would struggle to cope with a further influx. She’s also quick to point to the benefits of being a sanctuary city.
“It has been documented that in localities when the local police acts along with ICE as an enforcement component of immigration laws, people are less prone to report crimes, less prone to cooperate with enforcement when an investigation is taking place. I believe that a society where you have distinct separation of duties of local police and federal ICE officers, it is most beneficial to society as a whole.”
Following the comments by President Trump, many of Chicago’s politicians were quick to defend Chicago’s status as a “sanctuary city.” Mayor Rahm Emanuel responded to the threat by saying that Chicago will always be a welcoming city.
Congressman Danny K. Davis is also dismissive of the threat.
“You know, I think that is one of the most ridiculous things that I have ever heard. Especially in the way in which it was couched. It sounds like playground retribution. You just wouldn’t expect this to come from the President of the United States,” Davis said.
Administration lawyers are said to have rejected the idea of releasing migrants into sanctuary cities, calling it legally unfeasible, though Trump himself insists it’s still a possibility. So it’s unclear what happens now. But it would appear, Chicago for now, is unfazed by the prospect.