CHICAGO — The state of Illinois plans to house recently-arrived migrants in a long-shuttered K-Mart in Chicago. Community members and state lawmakers are concerned about the initiative.
The most recent plan comes from the Governor’s office as many of them have been bussed to Chicago from Texas by Governor Greg Abbot.
The K-Mart is about 96,000 square feet and would be redeveloped, according to reports, to house about 600 people.
State lawmakers are asking the Governor’s office for a plan on what that redevelopment will look like, with questions of safety, for community members and the migrants.
This comes just a few weeks since the mayor’s plan caused an uproar in the Woodlawn neighborhood to house immigrants at the closed up, Wadsworth school.
On Monday, Mayor Lightfoot was joined the WGN Mornings News and questioned the state’s new plans.
“We have to live our values as a welcoming city. Not just in good times but in challenging times. We did not create the crisis of Governor Abbot, shipping people to our city like they were freight. But we have an obligation to step up and respond and that’s exactly what we’ve done. The biggest challenge we have right now is that the federal government must give these people federal work permits so they can work. They’re here in the country illegally. They’re coming from all over the world. They have a right, and we have an obligation to give them the ability to a work. If they had a work permit, I could get every single able validate person a job today.”
Alderperson Silvana Tabares of the 23rd ward didn’t talk on camera but sent a statement stating her concerns.
“After being briefed about the State of Illinois’ pending plans to house migrants at the location at 71st and Pulaski, I have major concerns for the safety of the local community and the people who will be housed at this location.”
WGN has reached out to the Governor’s office but have not heard back as of yet.