Andrew Chesney


Andrew Chesney


As Evictions Begin at Chicago Migrant Shelters, Northwest Counties Take Proactive Steps of Protection

After postponing the evictions of migrants and illegal immigrants from Chicago shelters for months, Chicago leaders began an official eviction process on March 17. Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and members of his Administration said thousands will be evicted from Chicago shelters over the next few months.

When announcing the enforcement of evictions, Mayor Johnson said, “The ultimate goal is to move people to resettlement or out-migration.” In other words, the Mayor of the Sanctuary City of Chicago is saying migrants should move on and out of Chicago.

These evictions and out-migrations will place new pressures on municipalities that are ill-equipped to handle an influx of migrants and illegal immigrants into communities and schools.

City councils and village boards in a few suburban communities have already passed ordinances or resolutions prohibiting or restricting the arrival of buses carrying migrants and illegal immigrants. These community leaders are also limiting the amount of taxpayer funds spent on them by actively enforcing zoning laws and fire codes and taxing the use of hotels/motels, warehouses, and other facilities that are used for extended use by migrants and illegal immigrants.

Local units of government here in Northwest Illinois are also beginning to take proactive steps to address the migrant crisis. The Stephenson County Board is considering a resolution that declares the county a “Non-Sanctuary County” and urges the Illinois Legislature to repeal the Illinois TRUST Act, which prohibits local law enforcement from coordinating with federal immigration authorities on immigration matters. I am the chief sponsor of Senate Bill 3596, which repeals the TRUST Act.

This law is harmful because those entering our country via the southern border are primarily claiming to be asylum seekers. By designating themselves as asylum seekers, they can remain in the United States until a hearing takes place and asylum status is either granted or denied. This hearing process is now taking several years.

Statistically, most of those claiming to be asylum seekers will have their asylum status denied at their hearing. At that point, they become illegal immigrants in this country should they decide to stay. After living in the United States for several years, is it feasible to believe these illegal immigrants will leave our country of their own volition? With the TRUST Act tying the hands of local law enforcement, there is no legally enforceable mechanism to detain and deport illegal immigrants who are denied legal status in this country yet refuse to leave.

In neighboring Winnebago County, board members are considering a resolution that limits the use of county funds in any response to the abandonment of asylum seekers in the county. Expressly, the Winnebago County resolution would forbid the use of taxpayer-funded reserves or emergency funds for long-term housing, medical, or other needs for these migrants, except for situations where they are abandoned in the county without means of transportation to the migrant landing zone in Chicago.

I commend those sponsoring these resolutions for prioritizing the needs of their counties’ families and for seeking to ensure that taxpayer resources are channeled first and foremost to their counties’ citizens.

I will continue to address the migrant/illegal immigrant issue at the state level and will work with anyone who would like to address this issue. Still, local and county government is the final firewall we have at our disposal to protect our shared constituencies from the open border policies put in place by our current President.

The resolutions under consideration in the counties of Stephenson and Winnebago are model policies that could and should be used across the state, and I am proud that counties in the 45th District are leading on such a critical issue.

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