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Immigrant crisis looms as winter approaches; voters, migrants want action

Nov 27, 2023

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Chicago city officials are seeking to turn a vacant parking lot into a temporary winterized tent community to house migrants. The city inked a deal in October with the owners of the vacant lot, located at 38th and California in the Brighton neighborhood, according to NBC News Chicago.

The project hasn’t started construction yet, and Mayor Brandon Johnson’s office hasn’t said when it will begin

Half a dozen Chicago residents filed suit against the city over the proposed project, asking the court to issue a preliminary injunction to halt construction before the property becomes a base camp for nearly 2,000 migrants. Those migrants are currently living in Chicago’s airports, police stations, parks and on city sidewalks. Two of the plaintiffs are sets to appear in front of a judge Monday, Nov. 27.

For city officials, the suit is another hurdle in finding migrant housing before Chicago’s winter weather sets in. Last week, Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the state will spend $160 million to address Chicago’s migrant crisis with $65 million earmarked for the winterized tent housing project.

“We have a Congress abdicating its responsibility and border politicians using human beings as political pawns in their partisan games,” Pritzker said. “Even with some help that we’re getting from the federal government, we’re being forced to try and solve a federal-sized problem at the state and local levels.”

Immigration is a top issue for voters in 2024, according to a June Gallup poll. The poll shows that 68% of Americans say immigration is a good thing for the country while 27% say it’s bad.

Nearly half of those polled said that immigrants make drugs, crime and taxes worse for Americans.

In a recent NBC News poll, roughly 3 out of 4 registered voters “support more funding for security along the U.S. border with Mexico.”

Some immigrants who have been in the United States for years say new migrants are getting special treatment from the White House as President Biden’s new legal pathway for asylum-seekers requires no waiting period for work permits.

“We all have the right to come to this country to progress,” said Jose Guerrero, an immigrant and Florida resident, in an interview with The Associated Press. “The only problem is that newly arrived migrants have been able to receive their documents quickly and someone like me who’s been living here for years, they don’t want to give us anything.”

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he plans to bring Biden’s Ukraine aid package to the Senate floor the week of Dec. 4. Republicans are looking to strike a bipartisan immigration deal to tighten asylum laws and attach it to the aid.

“We should be able to come together and figure this out,” said Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla. “Our country is at risk. This is a national security issue, not to mention, drugs and everything else that the Border Patrol can’t go interdict because they’re processing so many migrants at this time.”

Congress has not passed meaningful immigration reform since the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.

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[Lauren Taylor]

PREPARATION IN CHICAGO –
AS CITY OFFICIALS SEEK TO TURN A VACANT PARKING LOT INTO A TEMPORARY WINTERIZED TENT COMMUNITY TO HOUSE MIGRANTS.

THE CITY OF CHICAGO INKED A DEAL WITH THE OWNERS OF THE VACANT LOT – LOCATED AT 38TH AND CALIFORNIA IN THE BRIGHTON NEIGHBORHOOD – IN OCTOBER, ACCORDING TO NBC NEWS CHICAGO.

HOWEVER, CONSTRUCTION ON THE PROJECT HAS YET TO BEGIN, AND MAYOR BRADON JOHNSON’S OFFICE HAS YET TO ANNOUNCE WHEN BUILDING WILL GET UNDERWAY.

SOME CHICAGO RESIDENTS ARE NOT HAPPY ABOUT THE TEMPORARY WINTERIZED TENT CAMP. A HALF DOZEN RESIDENTS FILED SUIT AGAINST THE CITY OVER THE PROPOSED PROJECT – ASKING THE COURT TO ISSUE A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION TO HALT CONSTRUCTION BEFORE THE PROPERTY CAN BE TRANSFORMED INTO A BASE CAMP FOR NEARLY 2-THOUSAND MIGRANTS CURRENTLY LIVING IN CHICAGO’S AIRPORTS, POLICE STATIONS, PARKS AND ON CITY SIDEWALKS.

TWO OF THOSE PLAINTIFFS ARE SET TO APPEAR IN FRONT OF A JUDGE MONDAY.

FOR CITY OFFICIALS – IT’S ANOTHER HURDLE IN FINDING MIGRANT HOUSING – BEFORE CHICAGO’S BRUTAL WINTER WEATHER SETS IN.

LAST WEEK – ILLINOIS GOVERNOR JB PRITZKER ANNOUNCED THE STATE WILL SPEND $160-MILLION DOLLARS TO ADDRESS CHICAGO’S MIGRANT CRISIS – WITH $65-MILLION EARMARKED FOR THE WINTERIZED TENT HOUSING PROJECT.

[J.B. Pritzker]

“We have a Congress abdicating its responsibility and border politicians using human beings as political pawns in their partisan games. Even with some help that we’re getting from the federal government, we’re being forced to try and solve a federal-sized problem at the state and local levels.”

[Lauren Taylor]

WITH IMMIGRATION A TOP ISSUE FOR VOTERS IN 2024 –
A JUNE GALLUP POLL SHOWS –
68-PERCENT OF AMERICANS SAY IMMIGRATION IS A GOOD THING FOR THE COUNTRY WHILE 27% SAY IT’S BAD.
AND NEARLY HALF SAY IMMIGRANTS MAKE DRUGS, CRIME.. AND SOMETIMES TAXES WORSE FOR AMERICANS.

And According to a recent NBC NEWS POLL – ROUGHLY 3 OUT OF 4 REGISTERED VOTERS “support more funding for security along the U.S. border with Mexico.”