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Brandon Johnson administration changes tune on supporting migrants in Chicago

Immigrants flooding Chicago

The approach to handling the thousands of immigrants flooding into Chicago is being changed by Mayor Brandon Johnson. He told the city council members on Friday that the city will no longer be responsible for setting up shelter spaces for asylum-seekers.

Aldermen had been told in small groups by Johnson that creating new shelters costs far too much money. As more than 34,000 immigrants have arrived in the Windy City since August 2022, the city-run shelter system has been at capacity for months.

Pause creating new shelters

It has been confirmed in the meetings by the mayor that there has been a pause on creating new shelters since Dec. 22, 2023. Moreover, the administration will stop building new shelters or industrial tents for migrants altogether for the present moment. Rather, Johnson is asking for the help of the churches and individual people to provide beds for asylum-seekers.

A briefing report obtained through Politico details that 608 buses have arrived from Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) and 501 since May 21, 2023. Within the city, there are 28 shelters in operation. They have been holding 14,967 shelter members as of Jan. 16.

More than 5,000 migrants are underage. 216 single beds are needed and no bed is available as of January 16.

New shelters to be evicted after a certain period

New shelter eviction updates have been issued by Johnson. There was a delay in the 60-day limit policy for the first group of immigrants on Jan. 12. 50 migrant shelter residents who had been in the system since 2022 and had been required to leave by Jan. 15. They were allowed to stay through “at least” Jan. 22.

Johnson has once again extended move-outs through Feb. 1 due to the extreme weather conditions, but the 60-day limit will go into effect after that date has passed. 7,842 residents have been distributed by the administration according to the reports.

Latest sign of Democratic cities weakening

Under mass surge of immigrants from the southern border and the change in migrant shelter police, it is the latest signs of Democratic cities weakening. Johnson, along with the mayors of New York City and Denver, have requested the federal government to assist, as the capacity of all shelters is full.

J.B. Pritzker launched a program offering $17 million in additional funding to suburbs that agreed to house immigrants so that the burden from Chicago could be alleviated. Millions of dollars in funding will go toward welcome centers, work permit applications, housing, and healthcare as stated by Pritzker.

Since cities such as Chicago has imposed heavy restrictions on homeless immigrant dropoffs due to reaching maximum capacity. Moreover, bus travel companies from Texas have been avoiding the rules to drop immigrants off in suburbs like Naperville, Illinois, and Oak Park, Illinois. The main motive is that they can board transit systems into the city.

New ordinances passed

Ordinances preventing immigrants from being housed in hotels have been passed by Several villages, like Schaumburg, Illinois, and Elk Grove, Illinois. Oak Park had begun the process of evicting 150 immigrants from a town hotel.

Mayors from all over the nation in Washington, D.C., were in a meeting on Friday. The Chicago mayor partly worked to generate interest in the migrant crisis.

Building shelters is not sustainable for local economies, Johnson said.

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