(The Center Square) – Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson says the city of Chicago has had conversations with suburban leaders in Cook and other counties about the possibility of moving migrants into their communities.
Thousands of migrant families have arrived in Chicago over the past year. City officials have placed many in police stations, YMCAs and Daley College.
Johnson said the city is looking at other towns to help with housing migrants.
“We’ve had conversations with mayors across not just Cook County but the surrounding counties, and we have had tremendous feedback,” Johnson said. “We see some real support on the horizon.”
Johnson said conversations will continue in the coming days and weeks.
“Looking forward in the days to come that these collaborative efforts that we have been organizing will begin to see some dynamic come to fruition,” Johnson said.
About 12,000 migrants have arrived in Chicago from the southern U.S. border in the past year.
Maggie Rivera of the Illinois Migrant Council explained what else these families would need if they were moved into the suburbs.
“Being in the suburbs, for instance, if you bring them to Woodstock where we have no public transportation other than the Metra that runs to Chicago, that would be something that would have to be strategized,” she said.
Rivera also told The Center Square that she has heard from families about a specific issue that could continue in the suburbs.
“I hear from a lot of the people in the shelters that we are at. They are always complaining about not getting enough food,” Rivera said. “When there are families that have teenagers or growing kids, that will always be an issue.”
Just this month, Johnson said Chicago would remain open for those who wish to come there, reaffirming the city’s stance as a “sanctuary state,” or a jurisdiction with lax local enforcement of federal immigration laws.
“Here’s what I am committed to doing, honoring the law of being a sanctuary city and building systems of care that provide a pathway with dignity for individuals who are seeking refuge here in the city of Chicago,” Johnson said.
So far, city and state taxpayers have set aside $94 million for migrant housing. The state budget has $550 million in taxpayer subsidies for health care of migrants over the age of 65.