An emotional Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday used a City Council resolution honoring former Chicago Fire Department diver Juan Bucio to blast President Donald Trump, without mentioning his political nemesis by name.
Bucio died during a Memorial Day rescue on the south branch of the Chicago River. His death triggered an outpouring of grief from across the city. His funeral was filled with pageantry and attracted firefighters from across the state and the nation.
On Wednesday, Fire Department brass and members of the Bucio family filled the VIP box in the City Council chambers as aldermen approved a death resolution honoring Bucio’s heroic rescue and ultimate sacrifice.
When it was Emanuel’s turn to close the debate, the mayor recalled the Bucio family’s immigrant, coming-to-America story that was first told by Bucio’s pastor at the funeral.
“Halfway through that journey on the Rio [Grande], your mother, like any mother, started to count the heads. She knew there was one missing. She said, `We’re not going.’ And Juan went back, found his sibling asleep under a tree, put him on his back, reunited him with his family and then commenced the Bucio’s journey to Chicago,” Emanuel said, his voice breaking with emotion.
“At present, a mother who cared about her children enough to take risks to come to a great country with great ideals and great values and a city that embraced a better tomorrow today would be separated from her children. Today, under a notion of zero tolerance, a mother who wouldn’t go a step further until that family was together would be ripped apart in the name of law and order.”
In celebrating “Juan and what he gave this city,” Emanuel said Chicago must also celebrate the “values of the Bucio family” that brought them here to an America that is no longer as welcoming as it was.
“We, as a city, will never turn our back on people who journey here, parents who sacrifice, parents who struggle, because they believe like we believe in this country,” the mayor said.
“When we say you’re in our thoughts and our prayers, just remember how much of that is being challenged today. And let us remember the lesson of Mom Bucio. Not a step further unless we go together.”
Underscoring the mayor’s theme, framed signs were posted at the beginning and end of every row of aldermen in the City Council chambers. The signs read, “Families Belong Together,” with four red stars at the top and bottom of the sign to look a bit like the Chicago flag.
Also at Wednesday’s meeting, Ald Ray Lopez (15th) introduced a budget amendment that would bolster the Legal Defense Fund created to advise, represent and protect immigrants threatened with deportation–from $1.3 million to $2.3 million.
The extra $1 million would come from the fund the judgment fund the city uses to bankroll settlements and pay outside counsel.
The move comes one day after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Trump’s travel ban.