Chicago Continues City Benefits to Illegal Aliens Amidst COVID-19
By Tanner Bonovitch | FAIR Take | April 2020
Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has given Chicago yet another opportunity to show it cares more about illegal aliens than law-abiding American citizens and legal immigrants.
Chicago became a sanctuary city back in 2012, when then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) and the city council passed the Welcoming City Ordinance. This ordinance prohibits the inquiry into immigration status, disclosure of immigration status information to federal and local authorities and the denial of City services based on immigration status.
On April 9, 2020, after hearing that the federal coronavirus relief bill (the CARES Act) excluded illegal aliens from relief payments and other benefits, Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) issued Executive Order No. 2020-2, which states:
“The Office of the Mayor declares that all benefits, opportunities, and services which are provided or administered by the City of Chicago are accessible to all residents of the City, regardless of country of origin or current citizenship status. The provisions of this Order shall be liberally construed, particularly in the response of the City to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Among other city benefits, illegal aliens are eligible for “benefits through Chicago’s Housing Assistance Grant program, learning resources through Chicago public schools, and will have access to the $100 million Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund.” Unemployment insurance remains available only to US citizens and those legal immigrants who are authorized to work in the US.
Chicago is currently home to one of the highest illegal alien populations in the United States. According to Pew Research, the greater Chicago area ranks number 6 nationally among US metropolitan areas, with over 400,000 illegal aliens.
In its 2017 fiscal cost study FAIR reported that that year “illegal immigration cost Illinois taxpayers $3.2 billion. That amounts to a burden of $671 per household.” Those numbers have likely only risen in the years since.
As FAIR's Matthew Tragesser writes, what Chicago is doing appears to be part of a larger movement among many state and local officials across the country to use COVID-19 as just one more excuse for forcing taxpayers to fund their open-borders agenda.
But with over 22 million Americans now unemployed, Chicago’s citizens and legal immigrants should consider whether it’s appropriate or affordable to continue these taxpayer funded benefits to illegal immigrants.