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home : opinions : letters to the editor   May 24, 2016

8/4/2014 1:47:00 PM
Letters to the Editor: We're helping illegal immigrant children but what about ours?

This is in response to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s recent news reports defending his decision to open the city of Chicago, thus Illinois, to 1,000 illegal immigrant children who recently crossed the U.S. southern borders.

Emanuel says “the test and measure of a city (Chicago) is how it treats its children.”

What does it say about Chicago, and the state of Illinois, for continuing to deny shelter, food and medical care to its over 23,000 cognitively impaired, medically challenged, vulnerable residents and registered U.S. citizens?

Labeled by the state as (Intellectually) Developmentally Disabled (I)DD, once called mentally retarded, these 23,000 vulnerable sit on a state registry list waiting for the same types of government assistance Emanuel is offering to illegal immigrant children.

Many of those on that registry have been waiting for years for help.

And, many more will continue to wait because Illinois says it does not have the funding to aid them, despite the fact that they are required by law.

Of those waiting, more than 6,000 are classified as being in an emergency situation or crisis. That crisis includes being in danger of physical or sexual abuse, being abandoned or neglected by a parent or caregiver, being homeless, having a parent or caregiver that had died or is incarcerated, and/or being in need of immediate medical or mental health services.

Ironically, these children with (I)DD live legally within the borders of our country. Yet, they are politically exiled from society and prohibited from receiving the necessary governmental assistance designated for them.

These children are literally aliens in their own country.

I agree with Emanuel when he says that he “rejects the notion that it’s either-or” and that Chicago has “big enough shoulders and an even bigger heart” to help.

So, where is Emanuel’s concern and compassion for the children born with cognitive impairments in Chicago?

Where is the city’s big heart to care for and protect them as they grow into adulthood while still possessing the mind and skills of a child?

Finally, will Emanuel and “the city of big hearts” show the same respect and dignity for those with (I)DD by using the same moral measurement and test for the disabled as it is using to welcome and care for the 1,000 illegal children?

For more information contact or go to the Facebook page “Developmental Disabilities in Illinois.”

Christine Chalkey,

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