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Welcome to the Reader's weekday news briefing.
Illinois senator Dick Durbin is challenging President Donald Trump to prove he's not racist by compromising with Democrats on a plan for the undocumented "Dreamers" who were brought to the U.S. as children and have been benefiting from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Durbin is also standing by his assertion that Trump referred to African countries as "shithole countries" in a closed-door meeting on immigration policy Thursday. "I know what happened. I stand behind every word that I said," Durbin told reporters at Gale Community Academy in Rogers Park. [Sun-Times]
The Chicago Police Department might be the first in the U.S. " to arm its police officers with devices that will tell them immediately if motorists were texting when they got into a traffic accident," according to the Associated Press. The City Council's public safety committee voted in favor of a CPD study on "Textalyzer" devices. "The problem of distracted driving is only getting worse," alderman Ed Burke said. "This is a public health crisis." [Associated Press via the Detroit News]
President Donald Trump is a threat to the U.S.'s global interests as "we've never known before," according to the Reverend Jesse Jackson. Jackson slammed Trump for his rhetoric, policies, questioning of former President Barack Obama's birthplace, and equating of "civil rights marchers with neo-Nazis and the KKK" at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition's annual Martin Luther King Day breakfast, according to the Sun-Times. "All of us have a real sense of threat," Jackson said. [Sun-Times]
Tourism hit a record high in Chicago in 2017 with 55.2 million people visiting the city, according to the Tribune. In 2014 Mayor Rahm Emanuel set a goal to have 55 million tourists visit the city by 2020, and clearly President Donald Trump's frequent comments about gun violence in Chicago aren't hurting the tourism industry. "The numbers don't lie," Emanuel said. "When it comes to visitors looking at Chicago, they'll listen to Bon Appetit more than President Trump. Or the Financial Times more than Trump. Or they'll listen to their friends who have great things to say." [Tribune]
Former mayor Harold Washington was a key figure in the state and national push to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day a holiday. Then a state senator, Washington worked on legislation for years to make King's birthday a state holiday. He was finally successful in the 1970s, and Illinois became the first state to honor the civil rights leader with a state holiday. Washington continued the push to make it a federal holiday, which finally happened in 1983. [Tribune]
Chicago resident Margarito Vargas-Rojas is facing "felony terror charges after threatening to kill passengers on a Greyhound bus headed to Chicago from Milwaukee" Friday night, according to CNN. Vargas-Rojas, 33, allegedly indicated that he had a gun during the bus ride but authorities did not find a weapon after chasing down the bus near the Wisconsin-Illinois state border. "He was acting crazy," fellow passenger Patrick Dodd. "That's what it boils down to. We tried to get him to calm down, there were four or five people telling him to sit back down, but he refused to, and that's when I was on the phone with 911 begging for help." [CNN]