Chicago Passes Resolution to Allow Syrian Refugees, Just Days After Governor Vows None Will Come to Illinois

The Chicago City Council Wednesday voted in favor of a symbolic resolution to allow the city to accept Syrian refugees, according to NBC Chicago.

The resolution, which would also establish Chicago as a “sanctuary city,” flew in the face of Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, who announced Monday that Illinois would put a temporary halt on accepting Syrian refugees.

100,000 Opportunities Initiative: Opportunity Fair And Forum In Chicago
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (Getty Images/Tasos Katopodis)

“It cannot be in this moment when those in France have the courage to commit themselves to their values that we are weakened and walk away from,” Chicago Mayor Rham Emanuel said. “I’m honored that we’ve done this resolution. I’m honored that here in Chicago we speak up for what’s right.”

In comments to NBC Chicago, city Alderman Ed Burke explained what makes the resolution symbolic. He said that while the city has no authority to accept refugees, Rauner “has no legal authority to block Syrian refugees fleeing violence from being placed in Illinois.”

“It is our view that Chicago should continue its long and proud history of being one of the most immigrant-friendly cities in the world. It is a metropolis that was built on generations of immigrants,” Burke added.

Neither cities nor states can officially accept or reject Syrian refugees, according to Talking Points Memo, since the 1941 Supreme Court case Hines v. Davidowitz determined that immigration policy falls under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

That, however, hasn’t stopped more than 30 governors, including Gov. Rauner, from vowing to deny the relocation of any Syrian refugees to their states.


Follow the author of this story on Twitter and Facebook: