CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — The City of Chicago, which declares itself a “sanctuary city,” welcoming immigrants who’ve illegally entered the U.S. with lax enforcement of federal immigration laws, is preparing tents to house the thousands in tents this winter.
The military-grade tents are used by the armed forces to set up base camps overseas.
Currently, migrant arrivals have overwhelmed the city’s housing resources, and often spend the night sleeping on the floor of police stations, the YMCA, airports, or unused schools in Chicago.
“Let me state this clearly, the city of Chicago can not go on welcoming new arrivals safely and capably without significant support and immigration policy changes,” Mayor Brandon Johnson said, according to The Center Square.
Johnson estimated it will cost more than $300 million to house and care for migrants through the end of the year. So far, the state has received $38 million in reimbursements from the federal government.
The Mayor did not say where the tents would be located.
Johnson said the city had an obligation to care for the migrants in a way that “recognizes their dignity.”
“The point here is: Police stations being used as landing zones, that’s what I inherited. And I’ve said that from the very beginning that this is not dignified. So my plan is to move, with expediency, families out of police stations into housing and shelter that’s more suitable,” he continued.
In 2021, Mayor Lori Lightfoot declared the city a sanctuary for migrants in response to former President Donald Trump’s goal to build a wall along America’s border with Texas.
Subsequent policies by the Biden administration have resulted in a surge of illegal border crossings, beginning in August 2022.
Over 14,000 migrants arrived in Chicago over the past year, and five more buses are on their way, NBC Chicago reported.
Under U.S. immigration rules, immigrants seeking asylum in America are required to wait in their home country for 150 days after submitting their application for a work permit.
According to the city’s Sanctuary City Ordinance, Chicago authorities do not ask an individual’s immigration status or report noncitizens to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Republican governors in southern states, which have had their resources stretched thin by the tens of thousands of migrants circumventing proper ports of entry, began bussing migrants northward, toward cities, such as Chicago and New York, that had declared their sanctuary status.
Lightfoot and New York Mayor Eric Adams subsequently declared a State of Emergency over the massive influx of migrants, in hopes of gaining access to federal funding to deal with the housing crisis.
Chicago and Illinois taxpayers have set aside $94 million for migrant housing, and the state has budgeted $550 million for migrant health care.
In New York, Gov. Adams has warned that the city will have to undertake steep budget cuts, including cutting overtime for police officers, sanitation workers, and the fire department, to help pay for the migrant crisis.
“The economic impact of this on New Yorkers is going to be devastating and I must be honest with New Yorkers I can’t sugarcoat this, I can’t try to be politically correct,” Adams said. “I need to let New Yorkers know what we are facing so I’m sending off the warning signal to New Yorkers that if we don’t correct the course of this, this is going to have a devastating impact on our city.”
“Never in my life have I had a problem that I didn’t see an ending to, I don’t see an ending to this,” Adams said. “This issue will destroy New York City.”