Chicago aldermen propose referendum on sanctuary city designation

Chicago is expected to spend more than $250 million on immigrants in 2023 alone.

Published: October 2, 2023 12:53pm

Updated: October 2, 2023 12:57pm

Chicago aldermen proposed a resolution that would allow 2024 presidential primary election voters in the city to decide whether Chicago should keep its designation as a "Sanctuary City," as the city struggles to shelter the influx of illegal immigrants it granted protection to.

Ald. Anthony Beale submitted the resolution to the Chicago City Clerk's Office last month, and Anthony Napolitano joined as one of the first cosponsors, and he was followed by 9 other alderpersons as cosponsors.

The resolution has yet to be introduced to the 50-member City Council, but even the council's Immigrant and Refugee Rights Committee Vice Chair Jeanette Taylor joined as a cosponsor for the proposal.

Chicago has struggled to handle the more than 14,000 migrants who have arrived in the city over the past year. The city even turned to pitching tents last month to shelter the immigrants, many of whom have slept in police stations for months. 

Chicago updated its "Welcoming City Ordinance," following a 41-8 city council vote in 2021 to prohibit the police department from cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to arrest illegal immigrants who were in the city's gang database, had an outstanding arrest warrant or had a felony conviction. The updated ordinance also prohibited any "agent or agency" of Chicago from participating in "civil immigration enforcement operations," according to a local NBC affiliate

The state of Illinois has allocated $330 million in "migrant assistance" to Chicago, Gov. J.B. Pritzker's senior deputy press secretary Oliva Kuncio said last week.

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