Chicago residents slam ‘hypocrite’ lawmakers over plans to house 300 new migrants in hotels while city’s majority-black homeless population is left to suffer on streets
- Since August 2022, more than 11,000 migrants have been bussed to Chicago from the U.S.-Mexico border under a program begun by the governor of Texas
- Chicago, like New York City, is struggling to house the new arrivals, many of whom now sleep in the lobbies of police stations
- This week the city announced that a hotel in the Hyde Park district will house 300 new migrants: locals on Wednesday reacted with anger at the news
Chicago‘s plan to turn a hotel in the Hyde Park district into a shelter for 300 migrants has angered locals, who pointed out at a contentious meeting on Wednesday that many local homeless people were left to sleep on the streets.
Chicago has seen 11,000 migrants arrive in the city since August 2022, the mayor’s deputy chief of staff Cristina Pacione-Zayas said at the end of June.
Many of them have been bussed from the U.S.-Mexico border by the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott.
He has sent 30,000 to Democrat-run cities including Chicago, Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Denver and Los Angeles in a protest he says will end when President Joe Biden ‘secures the border.’
Chicago, like the other cities, has struggled to cope with the influx.
Migrants in Chicago have been housed since April in the city’s police stations, as well as other city-owned buildings.
On Wednesday, Desmon Yancy, the alderman representing the Hyde Park district, called a meeting to discuss the plans to turn the Chicago Lake Shore Hotel into a shelter, and told the agitated crowd he had only just learnt of the plan.
‘I was absolutely livid, and you guys are so hypocritical,’ one woman told the gathered aldermen, according to CBS News.
Another woman complained at the meeting that the local homeless people – the overwhelming majority of whom are black – were not being given help.
‘You’ve got 73 percent of the people homeless in this city are black people,’ she said. ‘What have you done for them?’
The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless said in their 2023 report that 68,440 people were homeless – a 4.5 percent increase on last year.
The city says that at present 6,500 migrants are being housed in the 16 city-run shelters.
The goal is to get the migrants out of the police stations with overflowing lobbies, CBS reported.
Andre Vasquez, chair of the City Council Committee on Immigrant and Refugee Rights, told the meeting that he sympathized, and understood their frustrations.
‘I understand exactly the sentiment,’ he said.
‘What I am saying to you is we’re all in the same city, so we all know that the black community hasn’t had that level of investment; hasn’t had that support.’
City officials at the meeting informed the community that some migrants have been housed at the hotel since the spring.
Now, the entire property will be taken over by migrants.
Emmanuel Jackson told CBS that he was angry his community had not been told.
‘I think it’s a basic issue of notification and respect,’ he said.
‘If these types of wide changes are being made in the community in which we live, we should know about them.’
The Chicago meeting came the day before New York City’s mayor, Eric Adams, held a rally demanding the Biden administration allow refugees and asylum seekers to work and pay taxes.
‘Let them work! Give them the opportunity to contribute to our society,’ said Adams, addressing a gathering in Foley Square in lower Manhattan.
He said allowing them to work would enable them to support themselves and fill vacant positions.
‘We’re saying we must expedite work visas. It’s just common sense. Thousands of jobs are available to be filled,’ he said.
‘Our resources are not endless.
‘The solution is not just New York City. The solution is New York state and the United States.’
Of the 107,000 migrants who have arrived since last year, almost 60,000 are still in the city’s care.
The new arrivals have pushed the number living in city-run shelters to a record-breaking 115,000.
New York City now runs over 200 sites and humanitarian relief centers, at a cost of $5 billion this year – as much as the budgets for the parks, fire and sanitation departments combined.
Adams earlier this week said New York City should be allowed to move migrants to other parts of the state – something the state’s governor refuses to consider.
‘We don’t have an option. New York City has run out of room,’ said Adams.
‘We are going to use any space that’s available to take the pressure off New York City residents.’
Kathy Hochul, the governor of New York, met with senior members of the Biden administration at the White House on Wednesday to lobby for migrants to be allowed to work and discuss federal support for health, education and housing migrants.
She called the two-hour meeting ‘productive,’ but ‘not enough to fully address this crisis.’