CHICAGO — Residents in Brighton Park took to the streets on Friday in protest of a tent camp that will shelter migrants in their neighborhood.
The city signed a deal to lease a privately owned vacant property at the corner of West 38th Street and South California Avenue in Brighton Park for $91,400 a month and city officials say they plan to build the first tent city for migrants on the property. However, some residents who live in the area say they do not want to see the project come to fruition.
Around 200 hundred people marched down the streets of Brighton Park on Friday, protesting the city’s plans to use their neighborhood to shelter up to 2,000 migrants.
During a community meeting last week, residents voiced their concerns but some said they felt that their opinions were not taken into consideration.
“Things are being pushed down people’s throats without anyone having a say so. That’s my main beef, not having a chance to have a say so in what’s going on here,” Tom Draski, a longtime Brighton Park resident who attended Friday’s protest said.
Some residents who attended the protest said they were concerned about safety and the impact on their homes and families.
“When you have this many people here during the day, they have nothing to do, what are they going to be doing during the day and the evening?” Maria Rolon, another Brighton Park resident, said.
Since August 2022, 20,700 migrants have arrived in the city. Currently, the city has 25 shelters housing more than 12,000 migrants, but more than 2,500, who are still awaiting placement, are living in police stations and airports around the city.
“It needs to be taken care of better than how it is let’s put it that way,” Titus Wiebe, who attends church in Brighton Park, said.
On Friday, protestors marched to the office of Alderwoman Julia Ramirez (12th Ward) to voice their frustration, but she wasn’t in the office.
Many in the crowd said these types of demonstrations will continue until residents get more clarity on the plans.
There is currently no clear timeline for when the tent city might be erected, but city officials say once it has been built, the tents will likely stay up for at least six months.
According to the city, three more buses carrying migrants are set to arrive on Friday, but there is no word on how many will need housing.