Public Opinion on Chicago’s Migrant Crisis

November 3, 2023

An analysis of survey results on Chicago’s migrant situation

As everyone is undoubtedly aware, the entire country generally — and Chicago specifically — is facing an unprecedented wave of illegal migrants. Chicago is estimated to have received, in the past 15 months alone, nearly 20,000 individuals who have come across the southern border. The situation is seriously straining already exhausted city resources as elected officials try to determine how to humanely care for all these people.

Two weeks ago, Chicago Contrarian asked readers to take a brief survey regarding the migrant situation. We received over 1,500 responses. The results are clear: The situation is indeed a crisis, the hard-working, taxpaying citizens of Chicago do not want to pay to house, clothe, and feed the migrants, and they blame President Joe Biden.

When asked if they agreed with the statement that the illegal migrant situation was a “crisis” a full 85 percent of respondents “strongly agreed.” Another eight percent “somewhat agreed.” Less than 6.4 percent of people (either strongly or somewhat) disagreed. Interestingly, this was the most polarizing question we asked. Less than one percent of respondents “neither disagreed nor agreed.” People’s opinions are strong on this issue.

As the cost of the crisis adds up, it is clear that Chicago residents do not want to pay for the expense to care for migrants. When asked if they were willing to pay more taxes to support the illegal migrants, a staggering 90.2 percent “strongly disagreed.” That was the largest response group in the entire survey. Another 4.4 percent “somewhat disagreed” to paying more taxes. Only 3.4 percent of those surveyed were willing to consider paying more taxes to support the illegal migrants.

Even when it came to sharing the pain, people were not amenable to using tax dollars to support illegal migrants. When asked if Chicago should get money from the state of Illinois, 61.7 percent of people disagreed. When asked about receiving money from the feds, a majority (51.1 percent) said no. It doesn’t matter where the money would come from; people do not want the illegal migrants to be a burden on taxpayers.

When asked if the illegal migrants are sent to Chicago because of its sanctuary city status nearly 80 percent of respondents “strongly agreed.” Another 11.5 percent “somewhat agreed.” Only 4.4 percent of people disagreed.

The two questions on moving illegal migrants around the country yielded the most balanced responses. A simple majority (54.5 percent) disagreed that it was okay for border states to send illegal migrants to Chicago. Similarly, 51.7 percent of people disagreed with sending illegal migrants to the suburbs or downstate. This last question, moving illegal migrants to the suburbs or downstate, provided the greatest angst for our respondents. Over 15 percent of respondents neither agreed nor disagreed.

The data analysis leaves us with one obvious question: What should be done with the migrants? We don’t want to pay for them, we don’t want them sent here from border states, and we're not interested in sending them to the suburbs. Where does that leave us? When asked if migrants should be returned to their home country nearly 83 percent of people “strongly agreed.” Another 10.1 percent “somewhat agreed.” Therefore, a whopping 92.9 percent believe the best course of action is to send the migrants back home.

People strongly disagreed when asked if Chicago should remain a sanctuary city. They also made it unequivocally clear that they do not want illegal migrants in their own neighborhoods. Perhaps it’s time for the mayor to stop virtue signaling and realize this crisis has consequences.

Respondents were very clear on who is responsible for this mess. While nearly 80 percent blame Mayor Brandon Johnson, and nearly 90 percent wish to hold Governor J.B. Pritzker responsible, a full 94.2 percent of people say President Biden is responsible. A mere 13 percent say that former President Donald Trump is responsible.

Even people who voted for Biden say that he’s responsible. When looking only at the Biden voters, 46.8 percent of them “strongly agreed” that Biden was responsible. Another 32.4 percent “somewhat agreed.” Less than 15 percent of Biden voters thought he was not responsible for the migrant crisis.

The questions regarding Migrants in the News show the extent of media manipulation of public opinion. How can the public form opinions regarding public policy when it is constantly being misled?

Below are the headlines as presented in the survey and the results. You can decide for yourself whether people are being informed, disinformed, or misinformed by local media.

Illegal migrants have recently been accused of attempting to steal encrypted radios from Chicago police and fire departments.
Venezuela recently sent criminals to the US as illegal migrants.
Mayor Johnson recently suggested illegal migrants will cost the city over $300 million per year.
An illegal migrant in Minnesota was recently arrested for the kidnapping, torture, rape, and killing of a 12-year-old girl.
Gov. Pritzker recently wrote to Pres. Biden that the illegal migrant situation in Chicago was not sustainable.
An illegal migrant was recently arrested in Florida as part of a pedophile/human trafficking ring.
Mayor Johnson recently called for residents to invite illegal migrants into residents' homes.
President Biden has promised Illinois $1 billion in illegal migrant aid.
Illegal migrants currently receive taxpayer-funded housing, medical care, food, and cell phones.

Lastly, several participants provided insightful comments that were sometimes pithy:

Lived in Chicago for years. I thought King Rahm would be the worst mayor. Man, did I get that wrong.
The border crisis is untenable. Citizens are fed up with Democrats and Republicans politicizing absolutely everything. Can we just agree that the USA is a sovereign country and we have the right to deny people entry whenever we deem it in our best interest? … People are leaving Chicago in droves - we cannot raise taxes and provide less for the actual people who pay those taxes.
Moving out of state next month!!!
I moved out of Illinois 15 mos., ago, after being born and raised and living in the city of Chicago for 58 years and the suburbs for 8 years. I don't recognize the city or the state anymore, and easily not for the past 30 years, and especially the last ten years.
I am very much in favor of LEGAL immigration, in whatever numbers make sense (even if it is the same number as the illegal immigration). But the immigration policy must be approved and funded in advance, with a plan for housing immigrants and allowing them to get jobs and drivers licenses, and the ability to thoroughly vet them BEFORE they come to the US.
I pray we can recover and correct the damage that has already been done.
Chicago, is a beautiful, wonderful city, with so many great amenities, and many hardworking people. However, our politics is not in a good place, nor it is in a sustainable place. We have got to get sensible, and address violent crime, taxes, and there needs to be accountability for all those who break the law, from the drug dealer on the street, to elected officials. Parents of minors who commit violent crimes and the minors too, need to see that there are consequences. I want to see our city move forward. However, that cannot happen unless we get violent crime and taxes under control.

Contrarian would like to thank all who responded. Over the next few weeks, we hope to release our next survey which will deal with crime in Chicago.

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