CHICAGO (CBS) — A Northwest Side alderman has accused Gov. Bruce Rauner of “fear-mongering,” after the governor proclaimed Illinois will temporarily stop accepting Syrian refugees in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks.

Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) has written a letter to President Barack Obama, criticizing Rauner for temporarily suspending the resettlement of new Syrian refugees in Illinois. The governor said the state would “consider all of our legal options pending a full review of our country’s acceptance and security processes by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”

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Ramirez-Rosa said immigrants have been settling in communities in his ward – from Logan Square and Hermosa and Albany Park, to Irving Park and Avondale – for 150 years, and they keep doing so.

“Our doors are open, our hearts are open, our minds are open, and Syrian refugees – Syrian families fleeing violence – are welcome in our neighborhood,” he said.

The alderman said he and others took offense to the governor’s announcement.

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“This is fear-mongering from the governor,” he said in a phone interview with WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya. “As much as Governor Rauner lacks the legal authority to close Illinois’ doors, we still have a moral responsibility to respond to the fear and the hatred that’s being put out there.”

Ramirez-Rosa said, by federal law, anyone allowed into the United States legally is able to travel wherever in the 50 states he or she wants.

The alderman said he and several colleagues will be drafting a resolution publicly welcoming Syrian refugees to Chicago, and he hopes to bring it up at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.

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His letter to the president is below:

November 16, 2015

The President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

I represent 55,000 working people from the northwest side of Chicago as Alderman of the 35th Ward. The neighborhoods that I represent – Albany Park, Logan Square, Hermosa, Irving Park, and Avondale – have welcomed immigrants from across the globe for over 150 years.

Today, the Governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, declared that Illinois would not welcome Syrian refugees. He’s wrong.

Governor Rauner lacks the legal authority to close Illinois’ doors to people seeking safety. Governor Rauner lacks the moral authority to close Illinois’ doors to refugees fleeing violence.

In the face of hatred and fear, my community chooses love. Our neighborhoods will not close their doors to Syrian refugees. The 35th Ward of the City of Chicago welcomes Syrian families seeking safety, we welcome them with open hearts and open minds.


Carlos Ramirez-Rosa
Alderman, Thirty-Fifth Ward
City of Chicago