Mayor Rahm Emanuel took part in a Fiesta del Sol celebration on Chicago’s southwest side Sunday and defended his decision to accept the Obama administration’s request to open the city’s arms to 1,000 unaccompanied immigrant children fleeing violence in Central America.
Citing his grandfather’s flight to freedom from Eastern Europe when he was just 13, the Emanuel said he believes it’s the right thing to do.
The influx of unaccompanied child migrants is a growing humanitarian crisis that we can no longer ignore,” he said. “While we have our own challenges at home, we cannot turn our backs on children that are fleeing danger.”
The specifics on where to the 1000 children will be housed and schooled is still being worked out.
In the meantime, the mayor has asked the city’s law firms to volunteer services to represent the children in the myriad of legal scenarios they now face up to and including deportation.
But while the Democratic mayor and Democratic president have been criticized for their stance on the the thousands and thousands of children who have crossed U.S. borders illegally, state house Republican minority leader Tom Cross is not one of them.
Cross who was also at today’s Fiesta del Sol says the current crisis demonstrates now more than ever is the time to act on immigration reform.
“I think people have been expecting a comprehensive reform bill,” he said. “Frankly I think everyone has some blame – Democrats and Republicans.”