Resist divisive mentality on Chicago migrants and stand against bad policy

South Shore has had years of disinvestment. Locating migrants in an area starved for resources is not in the best interest of asylum-seekers, nor the existing community, Shauna Cox writes.

SHARE Resist divisive mentality on Chicago migrants and stand against bad policy
community meeting South Shore International College Preparatory High School

Over 100 community members attend a meeting May 4 at South Shore International College Preparatory High School over housing asylum seekers at the shuttered school.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

I am an African American who lives two blocks from the old South Shore High School slated to house asylum-seekers. I was distressed reading the editorial “South Shore residents angry about migrant shelter would make MAGA proud.” I appreciate and support Chicago’s status as a sanctuary city and believe it is important to compassionately care for the new arrivals.

I wonder, however, when will Chicago be a sanctuary for all — for the many disaffected residents who have lived in South Shore for generations and decades?

I believe most South Shore residents want to see the asylum-seekers well cared-for. South Shore is significantly under-resourced after decades of disinvestment and economic decline. The community has many ills that accompany poverty, including housing insecurity and a lack of economic opportunities. Locating migrants in an area starved for resources is not in the best interest of asylum-seekers, nor the existing community.

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It is unfortunate there were offensive chants and signs held at the community meeting. These views are not representative of the larger community. To reduce community concerns to an anti-immigrant narrative or shameful “NIMBYism” is dismissive at best. Scolding residents does not engender a resolution. Most residents that have legitimate concerns have nothing to do with a so-called MAGA mentality.

I also caution some who try to spin a Black vs. Brown narrative. This is an age-old divide-and-conquer tactic. Many Black and Brown communities share common challenges and more importantly, a common humanity. Trying to force Black and Brown communities to fight for scarce resources is an approach that has been used and abused by a plethora of institutions, including media organizations and elements of the political class.

The editorial touted Chicago as “a city that prides itself on its racial and ethnic diversity.” Diversity is one of Chicago’s best attributes. Chicago is also severely segregated along racial, ethnic and economic lines. Stoking division and overburdening South Shore’s resources further perpetuates the segregation.

While the city hopefully explores other more effective options, I implore community members and the media to resist a divisive mentality and stand against the real culprit: bad policy.

Shauna Cox, South Shore

Understanding the debt ceiling stand-off

The recent stand-off on the debt ceiling is solely due to the Republicans trying to combine two vastly different issues: the debt ceiling and the budget. The debt ceiling is the country’s credit card statement. These are costs that we have already approved and purchased; now we need to pay for them. You do not get to look at the bill and say, we should not spend this much and so refuse to pay it. You pay the bill and then you discuss and determine what your budget will be next month or year.

In the present situation, Congress needs to raise the debt ceiling with no conditions. And then all sides need to meet and determine what will be the budget for future expenditures and how to work to reduce the imbalance of revenue and expenditures.

I also find it interesting how the debt ceiling is always raised under Republican presidents — three times under Donald Trump — without the Democrats holding the U.S. economy hostage, the way the Republicans have no problem doing. Suddenly, the Republicans are not concerned about the growing deficit.

Peter Felitti, Lincoln Square

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