ROGERS PARK — Ald. Joe Moore (49th) isn't changing his stance on welcoming refugees from any country into his ward following the devastating terrorist attacks in Paris Friday, he said.
Moore said the tragic events in France had led to an "unprecedented level of political grandstanding" among lawmakers who called for the halt of Syrian refugees entering into the U.S., as well as the state of Illinois, as Gov. Bruce Rauner suggested.
On Wednesday, the City Council passed a "symbolic" resolution welcoming refugees to show that Chicago is a "city of not only big shoulders but big hearts."
"Rogers Park has long been home to immigrants and refugees from around the world," Moore told DNAinfo after Wednesday's City Council vote. "I certainly welcome any refugees escaping the war and civil strife afflicting Syria, as they seek a better life for themsleves and their families. I'm certain the vast majority of my constituents would welcome them, as well."
Ald. Nicholas Sposato (38th) was among the minority Wednesday when he said he was skeptical of the vetting process that takes place during entry into the U.S., saying "We can’t be just letting people in."
On Tuesday, Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) wrote a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to disregard statements from Rauner, who said he wanted the flow of refugees into the state halted. Rauner has no power to block the flow of refugees — and aldermen don't either.
Even before the attacks in Paris, however, Syrian refugees had a hard time making Illinois home thanks to the state's budget woes. Organizations here that help immigrants learn English and adjust to American life have lost funding, like Howard Area Community Center in Rogers Park.
"If the state budget impasse continues we will absolutely have to turn people away because we won't have the ability to take care of the current students that we have, nor will we be able to accept new students," Shannon Callahan, director of education and employment with HACC, told DNAinfo in September.
From the beginning of the year until Sept. 28, 71 refugees from Syria have been resettled in Chicago.
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