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Emanuel Says Chicago Is a Trump-Free Zone

The Mayor’s Recent Statement In Relation To FWP

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“Chicago — our schools, our neighborhoods, our city, as it relates to what President Trump said — will be a Trump-free zone. You have nothing to worry about.”

This is what Mayor Rahm Emanuel said on September 5 when speaking out against President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, more commonly known as DACA, by this coming March. The program was created by former President Obama in 2012 to protect “Dreamers,” people who were brought to the US illegally as children, from deportation.

Currently, there are approximately 800,000 Dreamers, and more than 200,000 unauthorized immigrants renewed their benefits halfway through the 2017 fiscal year.

While Emanuel made many other points against Trump’s announcement, this particular statement quickly became controversial throughout Chicago.

The mayor’s words raised questions pertaining to the exclusivity of the term “Trump-free” zone and its possible abuse of executive power. His declaration relates not only to the status of the city, but to the status of Parker as well.

“There’s a real genuine fear on the part of these Dreamers that they’re very vulnerable, so that’s so unfortunate,” high school history teacher Kevin Conlon said. “They should be protected, in my opinion, so I agree with the mayor in coming out in favor of protecting them.”

Andrew Bigelow, also a high school history teacher, said, “He’s basically saying your policies of deporting people without trial are not welcome in Chicago. We are a sanctuary city.” Regarding the term “Trump-free,” Bigelow added, “I don’t think that was the best approach or message.”

The buzz from Emanuel’s statement made its way to the Parker community, where there’s a very strong opposition to Trump and his policies.

“Parker actually could be a Trumpfree zone, as the federal government is less relevant at the school,” senior Felix Wood said. “I suppose it means that Parker will refuse to accept Trump’s policies on people’s rights.”

Since Trump’s policies are federal law, Parker legally has to follow them, but community members suggest that voicing opposition can result in meaningful impact within local political environments.

“I don’t think Parker is a Trump-free zone – we talk about him all the time, albeit negatively,” senior Jolie Davidson said. “But if Trump were to give an MX, there’d be a ton of controversy.”

Conlon stated that he tries to keep it “teacherly” in the classroom, but that “there’s a very healthy opposition in this school, and I’d like to see it get healthier and more robust.”

Regarding Trump, Bigelow noted that Parker’s mission “strongly opposes his policies,” but he added, “I don’t want someone not to come to our school because they’re a Trump supporter.”

Despite the variety of opinions on how Parker stands after Emanuel’s statement, teachers and students agree that the school has been impacted by the current political climate in some way.

“It also made me think about how Rahm Emanuel is so heavily disliked,” Davidson said, “and how although I was proud of him for saying that, I wish he actually did more to address the structural, socioeconomic issues in Chicago instead of just coming out with anti-Trump statements.”

Conlon sees value in discussing these issues within Parker. “I would love to hear discussion between students,” Conlon said. “That’s how we have to operate. Otherwise, we’re not going to make any progress.

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School
Emanuel Says Chicago Is a Trump-Free Zone