Sanctuary city mayors are flocking to the US southern border to tell potential immigrants to sit and stay. First, NYC Mayor Eric Adams attempted to direct traffic like a beat cop in Central America, and now it appears that Chicago’s newly minted top dog, Mayor Brandon Johnson, thinks he can make a difference. But walking a tightrope in politics is about as dicey in the current climate as Nik Wallenda traversing the Grand Canyon. The only difference is Wallenda was confident in his challenge, did not use a net, and made it to safety. Johnson appears somewhat paralyzed, all talk and not a lot of action.
Just last week, he made this reassuring statement to reporters on addressing too many arrivals of the undocumented sort:
“I am going to the border as soon as possible. But I gotta coordinate that with running the government and making sure that my wife and children are secure as well.”
Busy man, that Mayor Johnson. Not only is he feeling the budget-draining that Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Florida have suffered in recent years, but now he must achieve peace and uplifting optics in his sanctuary city that will host the 2024 Democratic National Convention.
Immigrants vs Illinois Black Folks
Regarding the 2024 DNC hoo-ha, one huge collective booming voice for the Democratic Party is black Americans, as liberals come a-courting. But in the Windy City, there’s unrest in the community. The black population does not shun immigrants; they feel they have been pushed aside during the years-long neglect of border security. “For African Americans, the most famous and watched minority group, how we engage in economic and social solidarity is modeled worldwide. Black Chicago has every right to feel that this is a slap in the face,” said Xavier Ramey, a community organizer and founder and CEO of Justice Informed, a group focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) adherence.
“The city and state are in conflict because of those same economic realities. The state passed a budget that did not account for all the costs associated with migrants and shifted the responsibility to the city when the administration changed,” said Maze Jackson, principal of the Intelligence Group, focused on elevating Chicago’s black population. “It’s an in-state battle for resources that should be provided by the federal government.” Again, searching for help from a federal government unconcerned about the cause and effect of unbridled immigrants roaming north of the border states and into uncharted territory may be a fool’s errand.
Capitol Fax, an Illinois state-level political news publication, noted that a Gov. J.B. Pritzker administration official complained, “The growing asylum seeker crisis is like COVID without the money.” Pritzker has sent letters of request tinged with disdain to President Joe Biden, calling the situation with immigrants overwhelming the state and city “untenable” and saying, “It cannot be that just a few cities and states should now bear the cost of this effort alone.” Well, precisely, guvnor, welcome to the club of states like Texas and Florida who have had sole responsibility for this crisis for decades.
Sanctuary City Burden
Immigration is a key issue for every upcoming election: local, county, state, and federal. Will sanctuary city loving Johnson go south to try to get a bit of media love that shows he cares about his residents as much as he does about asylum seekers?
Johnson has been pressed for a timeline of his descent to the south but has committed to only “soon” for a date of departure. Is he playing to the immigrants, concerned American citizens, or kicking the can down the road for someone else to clean up?
“Going to the border is to make sure that everybody knows that my administration is committed to making sure that we are putting together the full force of government at every single level to ensure that these families, who, by the way, they’re not illegal. They’re asylum-seekers. They are protected by international law,” Johnson said. But the pivot back was immediate: “Black families — I know there’s been a tremendous burden, particularly on Black Chicago. I am fully aware of that.”
Good luck, Mayor Johnson, walking the tightrope. Where’s Nik Wallenda when you need him?