Chicago Immigrant, Latino, and Arab and Muslim Communities Respond to Illinois Governor’s Rejection of Syrian Refugees, Call on Mayor Emanuel to Keep Chicago a Welcoming City

Chicago, IL –(ENEWSPF)–November 16, 2015.  Chicago immigrant communities are sickened by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner rejection of Syrian refugees in the state, an act of fearmongering following the recent attacks in Paris and Beirut. In response, the Chicago-based organizations Arab American Action Network (AAAN) and Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) issued the following statements:

Statement from AAAN: “Governor Rauner’s announcement is based on fear and xenophobia. It not only creates a fictitious link between those fleeing war and violence and those responsible for the attacks, it fuels racist stereotypes against Arab-American and American Muslim communities in our state. Policies like these create an environment where violence and criminalization of all immigrants of color is not just tolerated but validated by elected officials. Denying people displaced by wars that the US plays a role in is not just hypocritical, it is cruel. We need intelligent policies that are not based on fear mongering, that take into consideration our responsibility in creating these global migrations, and show that our state has compassion for people in crisis looking for refuge.”

Statement from OCAD: “We cannot let elected officials like Governor Rauner re-frame need for humanitarian support for Syrian refugees fleeing violence into an issue of national security and terrorism. The targeting of Syrian refugees in our state is yet another example of the violent targeting of Arab and Muslim communities that increased after the attacks of September 11. It is another example of the manipulation of a tragic event to stir fear and justify racist policies that criminalize entire communities. We know first-hand how devastating this sort of scapegoating can be, and we make a call to all immigrants to stand with Syrian refugees. We urge Governor Rauner to reconsider the suspension and call on Mayor Emanuel to declare Chicago a welcoming city for all by refusing to apply the Governor’s decree.

As Rauner and several other Republican governors make proclamations, there are outstanding questions regarding the legality of their declarations, as immigration is a federal issue, not under state jurisdiction.

A petition asking Mayor Emanuel stand with Syrian refugees is being distributed at:


Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) is a Chicago-based, undocumented led, community group organizing against immigration detention and deportation.