Chicago’s ‘Mexico of the Midwest’ Fights Fallout From Fear of Trump

Little Village

From NBC News: It’s Friday night and time for the “marcha de cumpleaños” (birthday march) at Mi Tierra restaurant in the Chicago neighborhood of Little Village. Waiters bring cupcakes with lit, oversized sparklers, while patrons don straw hats and, paying no attention to empty tables, snake through the dining room to a Latino beat in a conga line.

“Fiesta. Happy,” is how Mi Tierra owner Ezequiel Fuentes describes the good times in culturally vibrant and economically vital Little Village — or as the community calls it, La Villita, a historic section in southwest Chicago that is billed as the Mexico of the Midwest.

But since the start of the year, fear of President Donald Trump has been spoiling the “fiesta” of Little Village, business owners and regular visitors said. Despite Chicago’s sanctuary city status, the uncertainty of when or whether immigration agents might strike is sapping the bustle from the 2½-mile stretch of quinceañera shops, restaurants, shoe and clothing stores, dental offices and other businesses that line W. 26th Street, the community’s main drive.

Locals say they see evidence that something has changed since January. Dozens of carved, brightly painted chairs and tables of Mi Tierra’s second dining room sat empty one weekend last month. Some tables in the main dining area also were unused. At lunchtime, half of the tables hid behind a partition awaiting customers.

“After the elections, everything changed,” said Fuentes, a former undocumented immigrant who now owns several restaurants in four states. “People are scared. They are scared to go out. The decrease of business (after the election) probably was 40 percent during the week, especially in the day time.”

Other business owners echo this sentiment. Vendors on the street corners complain that they no longer see the crowds walking up and down the neighborhood’s main street and lining up at their carts to buy their “elote” (Mexican grilled corn) and raspados (shaved ice sweetened with natural syrups). The usual buzz amid the selling of mariachi suits, clothing, jewelry, curios, accordions and many other goods at the Discount Mall outside Little Village’s welcoming arch is dampened.

Business leaders have been trying to tamp down the fear they think is driving the slowdown, reminding the community of Chicago’s historic sanctuary city status, and enlisting the mayor and police chief to dispel anxieties. They tell them there are no arrests going on in the neighborhood, that the Chicago police and local agencies don’t cooperate with the feds or question the immigration or citizenship status of residents because Chicago is a sanctuary city.

Exuding confidence in the city’s sanctuary status has taken on an urgency as news stories of arrests of immigrants with DACA – a type of protection from deportation – and people with immigration violations but not criminal histories fill the national news. The administration has threatened to punish cities that don’t cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“I would tell people here in La Villita to not be afraid, to get well informed, find [out] for each other if ICE is coming. Get communication through police. Come out and support our families, our businesses,” said Ezequiel Fuentes Jr., who works with his father in running their restaurants. “La Villita is a great place. We can make it even greater.”

Two days after the Mi Tierra celebration, residents came together at La Villita for a community meeting where some of the topics discussed included how to prepare for possible deportation, what rights people have if arrested and shopping local. The meeting’s title: “La Villita Se Defiende.” (“Little Village Defends Itself.”)

Read the rest of the story here.


9 responses to “Chicago’s ‘Mexico of the Midwest’ Fights Fallout From Fear of Trump

  1. There’s been a flight (prob. whites) from failed Chicago and the failed state of Illinois. People vote with their feet.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I understand people wanting better for themselves and their children, but becoming a criminal to do so isn’t the best means to go about it. And yes a lot of people are leaving cities for more rural environments, large cities see at least one murder per day anymore, and they’re no place to raise a family as far as I’m concerned. If you let some foreign criminals stay because they had children on US soil, where does it end?

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Be here legally and you have noting to worry about, folks. Is that so hard?

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Kevin J Lankford

    “People with immigration violations but not criminal histories”??….Isn’t that a contradiction?

    Any how, this is the kind of real change that the real citizens were and are hoping for.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. So the city that survived Al Capone, Frank Nitti, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, etal, is now going to roll up its streets and cry uncle, simply because President Trump is going to enforce the law. Some liberal has to have made this up…I don’t believe it!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. You SHOULD be afraid if you are an ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT look at what has happened to Europe with immigration-enough of this “poor me” bs we went way past human understanding and consideration etc. MANY years ago and what has been going on decades ago, with the real culrprits in government/deep State etc. who should be in PRISON for being the architects of this “weaponized” immigration which was designed to destroy our Nation-California and their COMMIE GOV & COHORTS ARE AT THIS MOMENT pushing agenda to secede from the Union and join with Mexico–we have been PLAYED by the illegal hoards and the leftist HANDLERS

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Pingback: KOMMONSENTSJANE – Chicago’s ‘Mexico of the Midwest’ Fights Fallout From Fear of Trump — Fellowship of the Minds | kommonsentsjane

  8. When “The Wall” is started,we need to take it from 3 miles out in the Gulf down the Border to the California Border,make a Right turn and go up California’s Border with Nevada,go West down the Border with Oregon to the Pacific Ocean,and continue about 3 miles out to sea. REAL AMERICANS will be welcomed into the United States-Illegals and crazy Liberals can now enjoy their NEW paradise WITHOUT ANY of the trappings of the Land of the Free. BTW-They’d better get a Military organized,and they’ll NEED GUNS;every Country who’s ever been against the USA will be scrapping for their chance to conquer a piece of land right next to the US.


  9. “after the elections, everything changed.there was fear…..” etc etc. Newsflash: the president of the USA is the in the office of the CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER of the USA…THIS is his/her 1/3 of the governement on this “balance of power” & according to our Constitution, it is his JOB to ENFORCE the laws (made & passed by the Congress & Senate of the USA…then signed by the sitting presidnet—-of the USA ) FAITHFULLY—as he swore during the swearing -in for his office/service to the USA with his hand on the Bible—all the LAWS of the United States of America….NOT JUST SOME OF THEM——THIS INCLUDES …. IMMIGRATION LAWS, ILLEGAL ENTRY LAWS….TEMPORARY BANS ON INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL TO AND FRO TO ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD…

    Liked by 1 person

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