Several Chicago elected officials are advocating for a voter referendum on whether the city should remain a sanctuary city due to the strain that the influx of migrants is putting on its resources and finances. According to Fox Chicago, around 9,000 migrants are currently staying in 21 city shelters, while an additional 2,000 are still waiting for space to become available. This situation has led to Chicago spending an estimated $5 million per week to house these migrants, although some believe the actual figure is even higher.
Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale of the 9th Ward has expressed his constituents’ concerns and desire to challenge the sanctuary city status through a referendum on the March 2024 primary ballot. He believes that it is necessary for the city to address this issue, emphasizing that the voters who contribute through taxes should have a say in whether Chicago remains a sanctuary city. Beale explained to the news outlet, “Right now, we’re dealing with a huge, huge disaster here in the city of Chicago and we need to get a handle on it. Nobody has ever asked the voters [about the sanctuary city status].”
Chicago is currently one of several Democratic-led cities facing an influx of migrants being bussed from Texas, alongside Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia. Under the “Welcoming City” ordinance, Chicago does not inquire about immigrants’ citizenship status, and local authorities do not cooperate with federal immigration agencies.
Texas Governor Abbott began bussing migrants to other states to draw attention to overwhelmed border cities and criticize the federal government’s handling of the immigration crisis. He noted on X (formerly known as Twitter), “Texas has bused over 35,000 migrants to self-declared sanctuary cities.” Beale pointed out that these arrivals disproportionately impact certain areas, specifically Democratic strongholds, which bear the financial burden with limited housing resources. He expressed frustration over the lack of resource-sharing across the country, stating, “Other cities and other states are not dealing with these problems, and we’re not getting resources.”
Beale anticipates opposition to the referendum within the City Council, believing that city leaders will try to block the ordinance from being placed on the ballot. He said, “You’re going to see a movement within the city of Chicago, in the City Council, to stop this ordinance from seeing the light of day from being put on the ballot.” Fox News Digital has reached out to Beale’s office for further comment on the matter.