Since I don’t want this column to become a catalyst for another absurd anti-immigration debate, let’s go over some numbers first! We certainly don’t want our crazier conservative Elgin counterparts confronting every Hispanic they see strolling down Chicago Street, now, do we?
According to the Pew Research Center, a group as statistically sound as it gets, a mere 4.1 percent of Chicago, Naperville and Elgin, Illinois, residents are undocumented. I’m not sure why they combined those cities while omitting Aurora, but that’s what they did.
What that means is, completely ignoring how Chicago and Naperville clearly skew that number with their greater job opportunities, of Elgin’s 112,000 residents, at most, 4,592 are here illegally. And that includes Poles, Canadians, and all manner of other nationalities – not just Hispanics.
Even if you accept Pew’s similarly too-high contention that 23 percent of Elgin’s foreign-born residents are undocumented, that means 77 percent of them are here legally. Furthermore, the number of undocumented residents in those cities declined by a massive 27 percent between 2007 and 2016, long before the Tweeter in Chief embarked upon his anti-Mexican pogrom.
More simply put, illegal immigration is not a significant problem in Elgin, Chicago, or Naperville, but that didn’t stop Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from raiding two related Elgin business last Friday.
As it turns out, this is one of the rare cases where ICE was actually going after the business owners and not the just their employees, but no one knew that until after the fact. That said, I guarantee you the 36 undocumented workers at MetalFab, Inc. not only no longer have jobs, but they’ll be escorted out of this country in short order.
Of course, ICE struck real fear into the hearts of Elgin’s 45 percent Hispanic community. Though a supermajority of them are legal, ICE’s philosophy has always been to round up brown people regardless and simply let the judge sort ‘em out. I’m sure you’ve heard the horror stories.
But despite this existential threat to the largest portion of the city’s population, those normally vocal Elgin City Council members have been strangely silent. And when I say “normally vocal” I mean Tish Powell, Corey Dixon, and Carol Rauschenberger, all of whom went well out of their way to see that Elgin Police Lieutenant Chris Jensen was terminated even after he was cleared by three independent agencies in the DeCynthia Clements shooting.
As is customary, ICE warned the Elgin Police Department they would be conducting a law enforcement action 24 hours in advance, which means the Chief alerted the Mayor and City Manager shortly thereafter. And, trust me, one of them warned the City Council so they wouldn’t be blindsided by the news.
But while Powell and Dixon went out of their way to incite protesters into co-opting city council meetings, and they consistently lynched Jensen in the press with no regard for the city attorney’s advice, despite their knowledge of the raids, they did nothing about it. ICE certainly wouldn’t pre-announce their targets, but once they struck, the news spread through Facebook like an out-of-control wildfire.
There were no warnings, no protests, no grand gestures, no bold statements – just a whole lot of quiet.
Powell did say she was “troubled” by the ICE event on her Facebook page, but that’s hardly an official statement and it’s literally the least she could do. Apparently, Dixon contracted a sudden case of laryngitis, because if he came out against ICE, it would jeopardize his 72-grand-a-year job in the Kane County Sheriff’s Office.
Though Rauschenberger wasn’t nearly as vocal as Dixon and Powell were regarding Jensen, she was equally as bad behind the scenes by trying to get him removed even after Chief Ana Lalley made the decision to reinstate him.
All I can say is, since I started covering Elgin for the Courier-News back in 2010, it’s always baffled me how little Elgin’s 50,400 Hispanic residents mean to most city council members. Despite that rather large demographic, it’s as if they somehow never seem to exist.
To wit, despite reaching out to our three previously mentioned councilmen last Friday, none have bothered to respond. I guess, only black lives matter to these purportedly “progressive” aldermen.
Though, when you really think about it, what else could they say but that they’re rank hypocrites?