Refugee Camps? Chicago to House Migrants in Large ‘Winterized Tents’

Political News

Chicago has seen an influx of about 14,000 asylum seekers over the last year, and, truth be told, no one seems to know what to do with them. That’s not nearly as many as have inundated New York City, which has welcomed about 90,000 asylum seekers since March. But the city’s political leaders are having just as hard a time finding shelter for the newcomers as New York City.

Currently, there are about 2,000 migrants staying as guests of the Chicago Police in stations across the city. Another 6,000 are in one of 18 shelters spread out across the city. One Chicago reporter described the view out of his window that was across the street from a shelter: “One of the migrant shelters in Chicago is directly across the street from my building on Michigan Avenue. So I look out the window, and it’s like a scene from Mad Max every single day.”

“It really is a fail on every level, the police are not able to babysit the migrants and arrest the violent criminals at the same time. And so the people of Chicago are suffering,” he added.

At the beginning of August, the city began allowing migrants to stay at O’Hare Airport — one of the busiest in the world. At that time, there were 31 migrants housed in a section of the airport away from public view. Now, there are 400 migrants, and they keep coming.

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The chaos is growing. And Mayor Brandon Johnson is getting desperate.

“These families are coming to the city of Chicago… If we do not create an infrastructure where we’re able to support, and quite frankly, contain these individuals who have experienced a great deal of harm, individuals who are desperate — if we do not provide support for these individuals and these families, that type of desperation will lead to chaos,” Johnson said.

“There is a sacrifice that is going to be required in this moment… The sacrifices that we are prepared to make in order to ensure that this city is not chaotic and it is not riddled with desperate people,” the mayor added. “And I’m confident that we can do both.

Meanwhile, city council members complained about the “drinking, sex trafficking, drug-dealing, narcotics use and gang recruitment outside Chicago’s migrant shelters,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

“I’m glad you raised that,” Johnson told the Sun-Times. “You’re making my point… Anything absent the type of investments that I am prepared to make and the sacrifices that I am gonna ask the city of Chicago to stand alongside me — anything short of that is going to cause and create that much more damage and chaos.”

Johnson told the Sun-Times that he has a plan to deal with the growing crisis — at least part of a plan.

Nearly 1,600 asylum-seekers would be moved out of Chicago police stations “before the weather begins to shift and change” and into “winterized base camps” equipped with massive tents, under a plan unveiled Thursday by Mayor Brandon Johnson.

Johnson refused to say where the tent cities would be built, only that his administration has identified suitable locations across the city. The tent structures he envisions could hold up to 1,000 migrants, though he added that 500 or so was an “ideal scenario.”

The alderman who heads the city’s immigrant rights committee said the base camps will “basically look like refugee camps.” It’s “not the best look,” Andre Vasquez said. “The bigger problem is we keep getting people arriving. The federal government has to step up.”

That’s a pipe dream. Joe Biden wants nothing to do with this crisis. He has hung his blue city friends out to dry and has basically said, “You’re on your own.”

The mayor also described, without much detail, a “comprehensive and coordinated safety plan at every single shelter” — including the 16-and-counting facilities created by the city to house the 13,500 migrants already here. More busloads have been arriving daily.

Johnson promised an “additional agency to expedite resettlement” while continuing to “partner with the state and county to create more welcoming spaces to take the burden off” Chicago.

The situation is a powder keg. And more buses are arriving every day.

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