CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s City Council today defied Governor Bruce Rauner’s order to suspend the resettling of Syrian refugees.
CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports they say that the governor didn’t have the authority to block refugees and that even if he did, it would run counter to everything the city stands for.
The resolution reaffirming Chicago’s status as a sanctuary city was unanimously approved after several aldermen offered personal stories of seeking refuge here.
One Syrian family who arrived here earlier this year, watched from the visitors’ gallery.
While Governor Rauner had declared that, “Illinois will temporarily suspend accepting new Syrian refugees.” He appeared to soften that position today saying, “We request briefings from the federal government on refugees being resettled to Illinois before they come,” his spokesman said.
Even though Rauner had just declined an offer of a White House briefing; 34 other governors, including some who’d enacted their own bans, accepted. Rauner, his spokesman says, was unavailable.
“The notion you would put on pause the that we would welcome refugees fleeing the violence is not true to who we are as a country and it is also not true to who we are as a city,” Emanuel said.
The mayor also stressed the long and thorough vetting of refugees before they are admitted. A case in point, the Syrian husband, wife and two young children who arrived here after a long wait in Lebanon.
“We stay one year two months,” said Fatima Idris. “It’s a long time they meet with us many meetings.”
“The people who are vetting the refugees are doing their job and we should support them,” said Suzanne Akhras of the Syrian Community Network. “We all want to be safe but I believe the system we have is very, strong.”
There are a number of issues to consider here. But the difference between Chicago and Paris, the United States and France or Belgium, is that the open borders of Europe make it much more difficult to screen refugees for terrorists, whereas the system we have in place requires a long and tedious vetting process before any refugee is allowed in.