Chicago Democrats have begun turning against members of their own party, warning mayor Brandon Johnson that the migrant crisis could weaken their hold on the prairie state and “flip the state of Illinois purple.”
On Monday, a National Review report spoke with various activists and Democratic candidates on the growing number of migrants in the city. Zerlina Smith-Members, a candidate for Cook County Board of Commissioners, expressed concern about public funds being used to house migrants instead of helping the homeless.
“We have people who have come here illegally, who have jumped the line,” Smith-Members said, also rejecting Johnson’s frequent attempts to place blame on Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott for the migrants, noting that Chicago is a sanctuary city.
“It’s a Biden thing. It’s a [Illinois Gov. J.B.] Pritzker thing. It’s a Brandon Johnson thing. They wanted sanctuary cities. It’s not Abbott’s fault, because he didn’t ask for it. We asked for it,” she said, adding, “It’s just a lot, and it’s overwhelming.”
Others also pushed back against the idea that Abbott was to blame for the migrant influx.
“What state could possibly take in millions of refugees?” asked peace activist Dr. Lora Chamberlain.
Still others pointed to a growing resentment among African-Americans, as migrants get preferential treatment over them.
“The reality is, if you look at Chicago now, you have high unemployment rates among African-American youth in particular, you have a lack of mental-health services in Chicago, you had thousands of homeless people in Chicago already that were never, ever focused on like they are focusing on the migrants,” South Side activist Tio Hardiman said.
“I’m not against them living their lives,” Hardiman added. “It’s creating too much competition between poor people in Chicago that never, ever received this level of support. Never ever.”
Hardiman said Johnson’s policies on the issue have “really discouraged” him.
“If I was the mayor right now, I would make an executive decision to bring an end to sanctuary-city [status] in Chicago,” he added. “I would get rid of it because we’re not prepared to deal with it.”
According to the National Review, Smith-Members is attempting to launch a recall against Johnson over the migrant crisis.
“There’s a division in our Democratic Party. It has weakened. It is going to get worse,” Smith-Members said. “The city of Chicago voters have woke up. The state of Illinois voters have woke up. And they’re not standing with our old leadership.”
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Author: John Symank
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