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In Immigration Fight, Trump Could Yank City Funds — But Rahm Hopes He Won't

By Heather Cherone | November 16, 2016 3:23pm | Updated on November 18, 2016 11:29am
 People gather outside Trump Tower to protest President-elect Donald Trump.
People gather outside Trump Tower to protest President-elect Donald Trump.
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DNAinfo/Joe Ward

CITY HALL — The City Council joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel Wednesday in condemning President-elect Donald Trump's promise to withhold federal funds from municipalities that protect undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Emanuel introduced a measure Wednesday that asked the Council to reaffirm Chicago's status as a sanctuary city that has pledged to welcome and protect immigrants whether they are documented or undocumented. The policy restricts Chicago officials' cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities.

Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) said the measure, which will be considered by the city's Committee on Human Relations, calls on Gov. Bruce Rauner to join Chicago officials' pledge to resist the president-elect's policies.

Rauner has yet to say whether he supports Trump's immigration policies.

"His silence has been noted," Pawar said.

However, speaking to reporters after the council meeting, Emanuel said he doubts the president-elect will actually made good on his campaign promise, noting that all of America's largest cities, including New York, Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles, have similar policies.

"He will find other priorities," Emanuel said, noting his time working in the White House for Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

However, Pawar said he took Trump at his word, and urged his colleagues to do the same.

When asked by a reporter, Emanuel declined to speculate how much money Chicago would lose if Trump fulfills his campaign promise, nor did he say if he had begun planning on how to fill the multi billion dollar hole that such a move would blow in the city's budget.

Pawar said he and his family were alarmed at reports that Trump was moving forward with plans to order all immigrants from Muslim countries to register with the government.

"I will register, as will my family," Pawar said. "We should all register."

Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) said Trump's vow to "immediately" deport up to 3 million immigrants who are "criminal and have criminal records," citing "gang members, drug dealers" would tear a hole in the "fabric of our community."

"If this happens, it could bring this city to a halt," Burnett said. Ald. Deb Mell (33rd) said she visited a mosque in her ward after the election to offer comfort.

"It was an emotional visit," said Mell, who said she felt "panicky" after it became clear Trump would be the next president. "I'm trying not to be freaked out."

Emanuel grew emotional three times Wednesday recounting — as he has often in the week after the election — his grandfather's journey as an immigrant from Moldovia to Chicago.

"Our city stands with immigrants," Emanuel said, fighting back tears.

In addition, Emanuel called on Trump to drop his plan to rescind an executive order signed by Obama to allow nearly 725,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children to remain in the country.

It would be a cruel "bait and switch" to use the information provided by those people and "turn around and use the powers of the state" to deport them, Emanuel said.

"That would threaten our word as a country," Emanuel said.

In addition, Emanuel Wednesday twice criticized Trump for hiring Stephen Bannon as chief strategist. Bannon is the head of Brietbart News, which is considered a “white ethno-nationalist propaganda mill” that often showcases attacks on women, Jews, Muslims and minorities, according to the The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate crimes.

Although he did not mention Bannon by name, Emanuel said his appointment signaled an effort by Trump and his supporters to "normalize" anti-Semitic and racist views.

"We must stand up against that," Emanuel said. "That is not the America my grandfather came to."

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