CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City Council on Wednesday waded into the debate about refugees from war-torn Syria, approving a resolution saying Chicago warmly welcomes them.
“We thank very, very much everybody here,” a female refugee from Syria said.
The woman and her family were among those thanking the City Council for its resolution. On a day when five Syrian men were detained in Central America for using stolen Greek passports in an effort to reach the United States, City Hall said it trusts border security.
The mayor recalled that his own ancestors had to flee for their lives.
“My grandfather came to this country and came to this city particularly because it was welcoming. There was violence -- subjecting Jews because they were Jews in Eastern Europe,” Mayor Emanuel said.
Although the Syrian family said it went through a vetting process that took 18 months, Governor Bruce Rauner fears it's not sufficient and wants an immediate halt until the resettlement process.
A spokeswoman wrote the following:
"A State Department official confirmed to (Rauner's) staff this morning that ISIS has demonstrated an interest in infiltrating refugee populations...Some refugees admitted to the United States were later discovered to have terrorist ties."
It's already a hot issue in next year's U.S. Senate campaign. Incumbent Republican Sen. Mark Kirk noted that two Iraqi refugees resettled in Kentucky turned out to be Al Qaeda terrorists. Democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth says screening now is adequate and she favors allowing double the 100,000 Syrians President Obama has proposed to resettle.
“I actually signed on to take more than what the President proposed. I signed on for 200,000 refugees,” Duckworth said.
Sen Kirk and Gov. Rauner insist they are not opposed to taking in some Syrian refugees. But Rauner complained the feds have no mechanism for sharing information about them with state governments. He called that a "reasonable step" to protect Illinois' security.