The Crusader Newspaper Group

The Myth of the Sanctuary City and the damage it

Photo caption: Central American migrants outside of a Chicago Police Station.

There’s a lot of manufactured justification in play for allowing refugees to engulf the City of Chicago. Much of this manufactured justification is associated with a narrative that Chicago is a “sanctuary city,” established by Mayor Harold Washington. Here’s the first thing to know: it was never “Harold’s” idea in the first place.

The Sanctuary City Movement first began in the U.S. Southwest during the very late 1970s into the early 1980s, as a developing network of predominantly Catholic owned church buildings to be used to hide people who entered the United States from South America illegally.

Let’s be clear on this point: The “sanctuary city movement” was created to circumvent ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

In those days there was a heavy influx of illegal aliens from Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and from other territories south of the U.S. border. ICE was determined to stop it. Some say ICE may have gone overboard with some of their raids. Chicago’s role began in 1985 when Mayor Washington issued an Executive Order prohibiting city employees from enforcing Federal Immigration Laws thus relaxing some of the stress on the undocumented. Harold’s controversial policy order was known as the ‘Don’t Ask’ law but it was specific to the times and protected undocumented workers who were already living here and working to get established.

Let’s be clear on this point: In no way, shape or form was Harold’s ‘Don’t Ask Law’ intended to open the flood gates to asylum seekers, illegal aliens, or refugees. There is a legal process for that.

However, it was the three years that preceded Harold’s executive order that reveals a different story. The so-called Sanctuary City Movement had its operative in Chicago with a local figure named Walter “Slim” Coleman, a controversial political activist with a checkered rap sheet. Coleman had the ear of Mayor Washington and first began singing the sanc city blues to Harold in 1982 during the campaign, at a time when people were sneaking into the country. Slim Coleman was part of the network finding “sanctuary” for people riding the sanc city underground railroad. That point will become relevant in a moment.

In 1997, ten years after Harold’s passing, a woman named Elvira Arellano entered the United States illegally and soon landed in Chicago and became affiliated with Pueblo Sin Fronteras (Towns without Borders, a group established here in 1987). In 2001 Arellano established her own organization, ‘LaFamilia Latina Unida,’ (The United Latin Family) a human rights organization dedicated to helping immigrant families in the U.S. As her group became noticeably active Arellano got the attention of U.S. Immigration agents who couldn’t find a visa on file for her. In 2006 facing certain deportation, in part for her role in a 3-week hunger strike against deportation, Arellano became a fugitive and held up inside of Adalberto United Methodist Church in Humbolt Park. By this time, however, Arellano had given birth to a son. This is where the City of Chicago earned its rep as sanc city.

It was a tear-jerk story laced with the words “taken sanctuary” in a Humbolt Park church, dubbed by one local newspaper as AN ACT OF FAITH, AND DEFIANCE. When that story about Chicago ICE attempting to separate a mother from her son wrapped around the world, Chicago’s sanctuary city movement earned its halo. What the citizens of the world didn’t know, however, was that the church at the center of attention was literally owned by Walter “Slim” Coleman, known today as “Pastor” Slim Coleman. It would take 11 years (March 2017) before Arellano was granted a formal Stay of Deportation from ICE. By then, Pueblo Sin Fronteras (Towns without Borders) started a chapter in Dallas, Texas (2009). I truly hope by now that Arellano has full citizenship.

It was a truly gripping story for the times. But none of it has anything to do with what we are experiencing in Chicago today.

We got stuck with this problem because Lori Lightfoot was too weak to send them back to Texas, and now it appears that Mayor Johnson hasn’t figured out enough to send them back either. To the contrary, he’s been talking about a “need for working class unity.” The discussion should not be about how to make them comfortable; the discussion waiting to happen is when and how to return them to Texas. No one agreed to opening up the flood gates to refugees. They were not invited. They were never our problem to begin with. We have our own problems.

When Mayor Johnson lobbied for Federal help for the Refugees he should have lobbied for Federal help for Chicago’s existing homeless population, for Chicago’s existing struggling working class, and for Chicago’s vanishing middle class.

Chicago is stuck because our own political leadership has no backbone. President Joe Biden literally barked in the faces of the Black Congressional Caucus, and said:

“This country is doomed. It is doomed. Not just because of African Americans; but because by 2040 this country’s gonna be minority White European. Ya hear me? Minority White European. And you guys are gonna have to start working more with Hispanics; who make up a larger portion of the population than y’all do.”

Recently Mayor Johnson, Governor Pritzker, and President Biden told us that there will be more South Americans coming. They all speak as if they are helpless to stop anything.

Ask yourselves the burning questions: HOW AND WHY IS THIS BEING ALLOWED? How does the President of our country know that more are coming? Why has he not said anything about stopping them from coming?

The discussion should be centered on sending the Refugees BACK to Texas and not accepting anymore here in Illinois. The money currently used to purchase and install tents and other amenities, accommodations which are stressing the city’s budget, should be used instead for buses to return the Refugees to Texas. Stop drinking the proverbial Kool-Aid. It’s tugging on your heart strings, making you sick and putting you to sleep. Enough is enough.

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