Chicago, IL

Chicago Aldermen Propose Referendum on Having Residents Vote to End City's Sanctuary Status

Natalie Frank, Ph.D.

Chicago aldermen, Anthony Napolitano of the 41st Ward and Anthony Beale of the 9th Ward, introduce resolution to let city voters determine whether Chicago should maintain status as sanctuary city
Photo byJohn Moore/People's Dispatch [CC BY-SA 4.0]

Two Chicago aldermen, Anthony Napolitano (41st) and Anthony Beale (9th), are advocating for a reconsideration of Chicago's sanctuary city status, proposing that the decision be placed in the hands of the city's voters. They have put forth a resolution to include a referendum on the March 2024 primary ballots, allowing residents to determine whether Chicago should retain its sanctuary city designation.

This development comes at a time when the city is grappling with the task of finding housing solutions for over 15,000 asylum seekers who have arrived in Chicago since the previous August. Notably, a significant number of these migrants are still residing in Chicago police stations. This past weekend alone saw another 12 buses arrive in Chicago, the largest number in a single weekend.

To address this situation, the city has recently entered into a $29 million contract to establish tent base camps for migrants. They have also taken over commercial buildings, evicting the businesses in order for migrants to move in.

Chicago's "Welcoming City Ordinance" currently enforces policies that prevent police officers from collaborating with federal immigration authorities. It also prohibits city agencies from detaining individuals based solely on their immigration status or transferring them to federal immigration officials solely for civil immigration enforcement purposes. In most cases, the city is prohibited from inquiring about a person's immigration status or sharing such information with other agencies, unless mandated by state or federal law.

The proposal presented by Beale and Napolitano has not yet been formally introduced to the City Council. It is anticipated that this proposal will encounter strong opposition from Mayor Brandon Johnson and his progressive allies within the council.

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Chicago, IL

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