CHICAGO — A delegation of leaders from Illinois, including several Chicago City Council members and state politicians, travelled to the United States’ southern border in Texas Tuesday to gain more insight on how the migrant crisis is impacting the City.
According to the delegation, their conclusion is that the process and reality for thousands of people trying to cross into the United States is a disaster, with more money needed to be spent on humanitarian re-settlement efforts versus border patrols.
“This is a serious crisis,” said Ald. William Hall (6th Ward). “What we need is congress to act immediately, change these border policies.”
Hall and fellow aldermen Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th Ward) and Lamont Robinson (4th Ward) were among the delegation that made the trip South, where they gained a firsthand look at the migrant crisis happening at the Texas border.
These pictures were taken inside of a city shelter in El Paso, Texas, and the delegation also visited a base camp along the border where photos were not allowed.
“You lose everything, everything is taken from you,” Hall said. “You’re left with maybe our phone and a few dollars and you literally have to take a shower and you’re in these holding cells where you literally have to wear what looks like aluminum foil as your cover.”
The delegation will be on the ground in Texas until Friday, and in the two-plus days they have already been there, the group has spent time in El Paso and San Antonio. According to the delegation, their goal while they remain in Texas is to see firsthand what is happening at the border in an effort to better help the 18,000-plus migrants that have arrived since last August.
According to Sigcho-Lopez, the lack of federal coordination is a huge problem.
“When people are entering the end of checkpoints, they are really confused about what the next steps [are],” Sigcho-Lopez said. “There is really little support or coordination on what is the destination point.”
Sigcho-Lopez said while cities like Chicago and New York are overwhelmed with finding homes for migrants, there are cities that have capacity and more needs to be done to hep new arrivals get to those locations.
“We see, for instance, cities like Topeka, Kansas looking for workers, incentivizing and even offering incentives as much as $15,000 for people to come in [and work],” Sigcho-Lopez said.
Delegates said they will give Mayor Brandon Johnson an update tomorrow and present a full report on their trip when the delegation returns to Chicago.