CHICAGO — Mayor Brandon Johnson said he wanted to get a first hand look at the conditions new migrants coming to Chicago are experiencing on Tuesday.
Mayor Johnson arrived at the Pietrowski Park Fieldhouse Tuesday evening, which the Chicago Park District converted last week into a respite site.
Prior to stopping to the migrants, Mayor Johnson visited the 12th Police District, where roughly 70 migrants are currently living. Most are from Venezuala and have been at that police station for up to two weeks.
Some tell us they have been sick, one woman there is five months pregnant and hasn’t seen a doctor after her nine month journey to the United States.
In his first day in office, Mayor Johnson signed several executive orders on Monday, one of them on immigration, creating a deputy mayor for immigrant, migrant and refugee rights. The Deputy Mayor will be responsible for coordination and communication between city departments and officials to support new arrivals.
He said he has not chosen who that individual will be yet, that there will be a vetting process to find the right fit.
The executive order also directs all city department heads to undertake whatever effots are feasible to address immediate needs.
More than 8,000 migrants have arrived to Chicago since last summer. The city approved $51 million in surplus funding, which will only last through June.
500 migrants are currently living in police stations, where outbreaks of bed bugs, strep throat and chicken pox are being reported.
“I’m here today because I needed to see it first hand,” Mayor Johnson said. “Over the course of the transition briefed on a regular basis it is clear police stations, that’s not the goal.”
“A 3-year-old child with a mother 8 months pregnant sleeping on a police floor. That is unconscionable it’s a humanitarian crisis,” 22nd Ward Ald. Michael Rodriguez said.
The Pietrowski Park Fieldhouse can hold up to 200 migrants and have yet to reach capacity.