Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson is facing opposition from city council members over his plan to put migrants in tents throughout the city.
The mayor challenged all 50 members of the city council to find two acres in their wards for a huge tent that could house 200 migrants. Heat and conditioning equipment, cots, a meal hall, and water hookups would be installed in the tents.
“I’ve looked in my ward. I just don’t have any available space. I have one of the most dense wards in the city,” said Alderman Brian Hopkins, whose ward includes parts of downtown, ABC7 reported.
Alderman David Moore, another council member, stated that some vacant lots on the South Side should be set aside for Chicago natives rather than new migrants.
“I’m a believer in help your people first, help yourselves first, help your community first. And then, reach out and help others,” Moore said.
However, many migrants have been sheltering at police stations, and Hopkins said a tent could be an improvement.
“We need to get those human beings out of those inhumane conditions right now, and clearly, a tent with some type of secure facility is a slight improvement over what they are currently living in,” Hopkins said.
Migrants are also sleeping at O’Hare Airport.
“I think what should be made clear is because of the scale we are looking at, everyone needs to share in the responsibility,” said Alderman Andre Vasquez, who chairs Chicago’s Immigrant and Refugee Rights Committee.
Vasquez suggested that later, the tents could be used for Chicago’s homeless.
“If you can make that case, then you can say this isn’t just for one population. It’s something that helps the whole city out,” Vasquez said.
Recently, Chicago has seen an influx of approximately 13,500 migrants. The third-largest city in the country has already spent at least $250 million on the problem.
The scenario has enraged Chicagoans, particularly those on the South Side, who have complained that city funds are being spent on migrants rather than on their areas.
Meanwhile, Chicago officials have been pleading with the federal government for assistance with the migrant situation.
“Let me state this clearly: the city of Chicago cannot go on welcoming new arrivals safely and capably without significant support and immigration policy changes,” Johnson said in late August.
The federal government has already provided at least $8.5 million to Chicago and Illinois in response to the migrant issue.
Vice President Kamala Harris was scheduled to visit Chicago for a campaign event on Wednesday, and city council members have asked her to tour the overcrowded police stations while she is there.
More than 110,000 migrants have arrived in New York City since last summer, and the city is straining to absorb them.
Last year, the city set up tent shelters for migrants, but one of those shelters experienced flooding.
Some council members are concerned about the city’s ability to support so many new migrants.
“Is there a point that we say enough like the New York mayor did?” Alderman David Moore said this week. “Or is that not an option?”