Ald. Beale takes a page from Texas Gov. Abbott’s playbook on migrant emergency

Ald. Anthony Beale wants voters to consider undoing the city’s Welcoming City ordinance, a move that panders to Gov. Greg Abbott and the anti-immigrant crowd.

Neislymar Gonzalez, 24, holds her son at the Central District police station in May.

Neislymar Gonzalez, 24, holds her son at the Central District police station in May.

Natalie Garcia/For the Sun-Times

Nice going, Ald. Anthony Beale. You’ve helped Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and his fellow Republicans sow the discord they wanted in Chicago.

As the Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman reported, Beale plans to introduce a resolution in the City Council to put a binding referendum on the March primary election ballot asking: “Should the City of Chicago continue to keep its designation as a Sanctuary City?”

Beale naïvely assumes that if enough Chicagoans answered “yes,” Abbott and other politicians would stop sending buses and planes of asylum seekers to our city. As if.

Beale surely knows his resolution has no chance of passing in the City Council that is, as Spielman wrote, “controlled by allies of the most progressive mayor in Chicago history.”



Beale wants voters to consider undoing the city’s Welcoming City ordinance that’s rooted in an executive order former Mayor Harold Washington issued in 1985 that prohibited city workers from enforcing federal immigration laws.

Washington rose above the fear of xenophobes. In the years since, hundreds of other Chicago lawmakers have followed suit. We can’t cave now, Ald. Beale.

Illinois also has embraced immigrants, whether they are documented or not. A Republican former governor, Bruce Rauner, signed immigrant protections into law in 2017. Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, has done even more. There’s no erasing those milestones.

Let’s not forget that asylum seekers are in the U.S. legally. It is lawful to request asylum while on U.S. soil. That they are overwhelming Chicago is the fault of Abbott and every politician or organization that has decided to continue sending them here as a political stunt, even as the city’s resources reach a breaking point.

Beale also should blame Congress for years of inaction on immigration, which opened the door for Abbott to become the country’s self-appointed immigration czar.

Beale likely is taking heat from folks in his ward who understandably are tired of the inequities plaguing the city. We get it.

“If we can find money for this, why can’t we find money for people who are here paying into the system?” he told Spielman.

If Chicago officials could, they’d stop Abbott from using asylum seekers as political pawns. In case Beale hasn’t noticed, conservatives are practically tripping over each other to score points with the anti-immigrant crowd.

Beale is singing a tune for extreme right-wingers. We think, in his heart, he knows better.

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