Chicago Residents Informed The City Plans To Take In 250 Migrants. Watch How They React.
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MAY 09: Immigrants from Venezuela rest in the lobby of a police station where they have been staying with other migrant families since their arrival to the city on May 09, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a state of emergency on Tuesday amid a surge in migrant arrivals which began in August 2022 when the first group of immigrants were bused from Texas to Chicago by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. According to Lightfoot's office, more than 8,000 migrants have arrived in Chicago since last year, with the city currently reaching "a breaking point." About 500 migrants have reportedly been living in the lobbies of police precincts around the city where they sleep on the floors and rely on food donations. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Residents of Chicago’s South Shore community were not thrilled when they learned that the city planned to take in some 250 illegal immigrants – a number that they said was “fluid” and could increase over time.

During a public meeting addressing the situation, residents raised questions regarding crime and safety and asked why the city had not bothered to consult the people who lived in the community before making plans to bring more people in.


The meeting began with Chicago’s Chief Engagement Officer Nubia William, who tried to impress upon the residents that they were trying to help mitigate a humanitarian crisis — but the crowd began to shout her down before she could even finish her first sentence.

“What’s important is that we really establish that this is a humanitarian crisis —” she began, but people shouting in the crowd interrupted her.

When the time came for public comments on the issue, the residents and city leaders who chose to speak made it clear that they did not approve of the city’s plan.

“While this crisis may constitute an emergency for the city of Chicago, it does not constitute an emergency for the South Shore community,” 8th Ward Alderwoman Michelle Harris said, prompting cheers and applause from the crowd.

City leaders attempted to explain that the plan included converting an old high school building into a “respite center” for illegal immigrants, but the residents were not receptive to any of the officials’ explanations.

“When it comes to the total number of people at South Shore at any given point in time, it is fluid,” one official said. “We’d start with 250, 500.”


The crowd erupted in response, and then a resident stepped up to the microphone. “How could you do that without consulting us?” she asked, and another added, “I am concerned with safety in the area.”

Chicago has been a self-proclaimed “sanctuary city” – where city officials are not permitted to enforce federal immigration laws – since former Mayor Harold Washington first issued an executive order to that effect in 1985. However, the recent surge in migrants arriving in Chicago has led to police departments being overwhelmed and outgoing Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot declaring a state of emergency. “We’ve reached a breaking point,” she said.

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