Illegal immigration is as contentious as ever

Immigration, and especially illegal immigration, continues to be a very contentious issue

Opinion

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By Arlene Jones

Columnist

Immigration, and especially illegal immigration, continues to be a very contentious issue. One of the main reasons so many people voted for Trump was his pledge to address the issue.

Although Obama had been given the moniker "Deporter-In-Chief," one has to wonder about the truthfulness of it as we read about people in this country illegally who are scared to go to their normal appointments with Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE).

Wait a second! We have laws that people can violate and the response is that all they have to do is simply "check in"? Please tell me when I can be in violation of the law and all I have to do is check in! As citizens we are ticketed, fined and even jailed with no regard. Yet a person in this country without permission has everyone bending over backward to accommodate them, which in turn is creating a class of illegal aliens who feel no qualms in expressing their entitlement to be here.

One of the hottest topics within the immigration debate today is "sanctuary cities." A sanctuary city is one that refuses to cooperate with ICE, thus allowing the individuals who are here illegally to avoid deportation. Chicago currently has three exceptions for ignoring its "sanctuary city" ordinance: if the person is in the city's gang database; if the person has a pending felony prosecution or prior conviction; or if the person has an outstanding criminal warrant for their arrest. However, immigration rights activists here want everyone protected from ICE no matter what they're charged with.

In the meantime, President Trump has threatened to withhold federal funds from those "sanctuary cities." The city of Chicago, according to CNN on April 21, says we could possibly lose at least $3.6 billion should our city be targeted. If that does happen, it will be interesting to see how citizens feel about the mayor risking that amount of money for people who cannot vote for him and who should not be here.

What is even more perplexing are the many groups and individuals who are here illegally now asking cities and suburbs to declare themselves a "sanctuary cities" or to create a "welcome ordinance" for illegal aliens. A little over a month ago, Oak Park declared itself a sanctuary city. I laughed when I read it for I remember how in years past, that same sanctuary city would monitor the Lake Street el to make sure Chicagoans weren't sneaking into their suburb and attending school. Maybe someone will take one of those giant mansions and turn it into a sanctuary home and attract a number of families with children to move in. Or let's have a bunch of families take up residence in the numerous churches in Oak Park for sanctuary. It would be interesting to see if a thousand kids showed up speaking different languages and needing a plethora of bilingual educational services to enroll their children in the Oak Park school district. Nothing is more honest than seeing if Oak Park would be willing to back up their sanctuary pledge by spending money.

Melrose Park recently decided not to go that route. A more interesting decision will be to see what happens in south suburban Calumet City. A group recently asked them to establish a "sanctuary city" ordinance. Calumet City is about 70% African American and 15% Hispanic. According to the Chicago Tribune, that means that out of 37,000 people living there, 5,500 are Hispanic with the majority of them here illegally. To date, there hasn't been a decision. But I am curious and will follow to see what that outcome will be.

The south suburbs in the past had some very contentious meetings over Section 8 rentals. Somehow I have a strong feeling this issue won't be a cakewalk either.

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