Tuesday, July 23, 2019

EXTRA: Chicago a city of conventions, but also of sanctuary as well

Chicago likes to boast that we’re some sort of ultimate destination for places looking to hold a convention.
'Ground Zero' of the immigration protest movement this week
We have all these hotels, along with facilities capable of staging such events. When combined with all the other attractions of the city that people can stop by and visit while doing business here, we’d like to think there just isn’t any legitimate reason for people to want to do a convention elsewhere.

OF COURSE, THERE are those who’d rather have their events in Las Vegas – figuring that out-of-towners would feel more comfortable with gambling away their money rather than taking the time to study our city.

But nonetheless, we like to think we’re a major convention center. To the point that it becomes a big deal when Chicago actively tries to chase away a group that wanted to hold its professional gathering here.

But that’s just the case with the convention that began Tuesday at the Marriott Marquis Hotel – located just a block away from the McCormick Place convention hall.

For it seems the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency put together a program for all the businesses they work with in the course of their work. It would be a gathering of a who’s who of the federal immigration enforcement world. A chance for them to talk shop about their industry.

WHICH INCLUDES THE ways and means by which people are deported from the United States. Which, since we’re a sanctuary city that officially does not cooperate with the federal government in terms of enforcing immigration laws means we don’t even want their business.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot went so far as to try to get the hotel chain to kick the federals out, get them to find some other city to hold their gathering. It didn’t work. They’re still here in Chicago, and it means we’ll get to see people picketing the hotel to express their disgust with what it is these people do for a living.

It does seem that the hotel has agreed to prohibit immigration officials from trying to detain any guest of the hotel whose citizenship status is not quite clear. But that’s as far as they’re willing to go. They don’t want to lose any business.

So the gathering took place, with acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan being the key speaker Tuesday. And this will be one event that many Chicagoans will be more than glad to see finish its business and move on by week’s end.


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