Chicago Alderman Brian Hopkins (D) said Thursday that he doubts Chicago would have become a “sanctuary city” if the city knew what it would have meant for the future.
The Windy City has been a sanctuary city since 1985 when then-Mayor Harold Washington issued an executive order prohibiting city employees from asking residents or assisting in investigations related to the “citizenship or residency status of any person.” The order also prohibited the city from denying city services to residents based on their citizenship status.
Chicago’s subsequent mayors have reaffirmed that order, and the city has also passed the Welcoming City Ordnance, which itself as been reaffirmed and expanded many times.
On Thursday, Hopkins complained on Fox News that the federal government has “dropped the ball” on the migrant crisis, demanding the Biden administration do more to help Chicago, which has been overwhelmed by tens of thousands of migrants.
“We’ve been asking for assistance from the federal government to help this crisis on the ground and to secure the border in Texas and Arizona,” Hopkins explained.
That grumbling prompted Fox News host Sandra Smith to highlight the inconsistency between Hopkins’ rhetoric and Chicago’s actions.
“But with all due respect, didn’t leadership in your city say, ‘We are a sanctuary city. All are welcome?’ Wasn’t that the message?” she asked.
“Yes. You’re not hearing that from me,” Hopkins responded. “You know, I think if we had to vote all over again on authorization for whether Chicago is going to be a sanctuary city, I’m not sure we would be.”
The alderman pointed to an effort to add a referendum to the city’s March ballot that sought to ask voters if they want to maintain Chicago’s status as a sanctuary city. Mayor Brandon Johnson (D) blocked that effort, Hopkins explained.
“Our status as a sanctuary city first was established way back in the ’80s. This is not new. We put this flag in the ground a long time ago. No one at that time had any idea that it would lead to this today. This was completely unpredicted and it’s completely unprecedented, and nobody thought a sanctuary city would mean what it means,” he said.
It’s true that Chicago’s sanctuary city policies themselves are not directly responsible for the migrant crisis the city is facing. But the policies present the city as a safe and welcoming landing pad for migrants, where they can access paid-for services without fear about their immigration status.
Now, it’s clear that some Chicago leaders are feeling buyer’s remorse for giving the illusion of open arms.
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