CHICAGO — As the costs of housing and feeding Chicago’s new arrivals skyrocket, more and more community activists have taken a stand, concerned the City is being too accommodating when it comes to the growing migrant crisis.
With no end in sight, Chicago surpassed 18,000 new arrivals since late last summer Tuesday. The City and state have pledged support for arriving migrants, but resources are running thin, and historically underserved communities have voiced their grievances more and more as time has gone on.
“We’re getting migrants every single day and tough decisions need to be made,” said Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th Ward).
The migrant crisis was at the top of the agenda Tuesday at a monthly meeting of faith and community leaders on the West Side.
“The Sanctuary City ordinance and the welcoming city policy has acted as a magnet on the Willis Tower,” said Patricia Easley. “Attracting illegal immigration from all around the world.”
“What I think is fueling a lot of the anger we feel, particularly in neighborhoods that have been disinvested,” said Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th Ward). “Is that when we ask for money to rebuild schools, when we ask for money to open up shelters, when we ask for money to support our communities, how many times are we told that money doesn’t exist?”
As the City continues to work to disperse asylum seekers across Chicago, 29th Ward residents organized to stop the Johnson administration’s plan to turn Amundsen Park fieldhouse into a shelter.
“Residents in Amundsen Park, in the North Chicago area and the Austin community stood up for what they believed [in],” Taliaferro said.
As tensions mount, officials said they recognize Chicagoans are losing patience.
Part of the solution, according to some progressive politicians, is the expansion of work permits — not just for new asylum seekers, but longtime undocumented residents as well.
“This isn’t about handouts, it’s not about welfare, it’s about people wanting to work,” said Ald. Andre Vazquez (40th Ward).
“It’s time that our community stops allowing the dehumanization of our community and start demanding what is right, just and fair — which is work permits for all,” added Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th Ward).