CHICAGO (WLS) --Mayor Rahm Emanuel hosted the mayors of Mexico City, Guadalajara and Juarez on Friday during their visit to Chicago. One major topic during their visit was the immigration policy of President Donald Trump.
Chicago's mayor confirmed his lead role nationally as the spokesman for sanctuary cities and opponent of Trump administration immigration policies.
"We are here about building bridges and not walls," said Mayor Emanuel.
The mayor took a not-so-subtle jab at the White House as he welcomed the mayors from Mexico to his City Hall office. They talked about strengthening city-to-city relationships despite President Donald Trump's talk about border walls and trade tariffs.
"The winds may blow hot and cold at the national level, but cities are the economic, cultural and intellectual leaderships of our economy," said Emanuel.
Through a translator the Mexican mayors praised Emanuel for being an outspoken protector of Chicago's undocumented immigrants. Emanuel vowed to continue the city's "sanctuary city" status despite Trump threats during the presidential campaign to cut federal aid.
Elsewhere, Governor Bruce Rauner was asked if he supported a newly-proposed bill in Springfield to designate Illinois a "sanctuary state"
"Our immigration system is broken. It isn't working. To deal with it piecemeal or on a small scale isn't the way to do it. We should have comprehensive immigration reform," said Gov. Rauner.
Mayor Emanuel was asked how Chicago -- with the region's highest-in-the-nation African-American unemployment rate -- could invite undocumented immigrants from around the country and the world.
"I think there's a contradiction in the assertion that if we're a welcoming city that somehow that means that it leads to unemployment," said Emanuel. "I don't think that if one community is part of the city is somehow comes at the expense of another community."
Also on Friday, the Mexican government warned its citizens living in the United States to take precautions. The advisory came after an undocumented mother in California was deported after she made a routine visit to a U.S. immigration center.
The Mexican mayors promised to help any Mexican nationals who might be deported if the nationals arrive back in Mexico.