Efforts to place sanctuary city status referendum on ballot coming to end
by BRIAN NADIG
Efforts to place a non-binding referendum on the March 19 ballot calling for an end to Chicago’s sanctuary status appear to be coming to end despite what Alderman Anthony Napolitano (41st) describes as strong support among Chicago voters.
“Well over 60 percent would vote ‘yes’” on such a referendum, Napolitano predicted.
Napolitano added that City Council members against the referendum “know what the answer would be” from voters if the question were to appear on a ballot but don’t want to be held accountable.
At a Dec. 14 special meeting the council voted 36 to 12 against a motion which would have allowed consideration of the proposed referendum at the meeting. The meeting was adjourned after efforts to discuss the proposal were blocked.
Napolitano said that sanctuary status is part of a failed policy that could cost the city hundreds of millions of dollars in migrant services and shelters.
“And when something is failing, we’re supposed to listen to (our constituents)” and fix it, Napolitano said.
Critics of the proposed referendum argue that eliminating the “sanctuary status” is not a guarantee Texas would stop busing and flying migrants to Chicago and that the referendum would be meaninglessness given it would be non-binding.
It would take a council vote to lift the status, and such action appears unlikely given the current support for the status along members. In addition, even if the status were removed, the council could still choose to allocate funds for migrants.
Napolitano said in mid-December that time is running out to get the question on the March 19 ballot and that Mayor Johnson’s administration is working hard to make sure the proposal never gets out of committee.
Napolitano said that dropping the status would send a message that Chicago made a mistake and perhaps the flow of migrants to the city would slow down. He added that border security needs to be strengthened.
Other area aldermen who have voiced support for the referendum include Nicholas Sposato (38th) and James Gardiner (45th).