City Council votes to approve Mayor Brandon Johnson's request for $70M for migrant care

Friday, April 19, 2024
City Council votes to approve request for $70M for migrant care
The Chicago City Council voted Friday to approved Mayor Brandon Johnson's request for $70 million for migrant care.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago City Council has green lit a plan to dip into reserve funds to help pay for the city's migrant crisis.

Aldermen approved the $70 million plan at a Friday meeting and vote.

At stake Friday was the city's portion of a three-pronged approach with the state and Cook County to care for migrants for the rest of 2024. In a 30-18 vote, the council approved the plan, but not without some spirited debate.

Spending tens of millions to care for new arrivals versus spending money for Chicagoans in disadvantaged communities once again divided the city council.

"And let's do the right thing... ladies and gentlemen, vote no. Show some courage, and let's do the right thing by the people here that are paying taxes every single day," 9th Ward Ald. Anthony Beale said.

"And until we start addressing crime in this city and start helping Chicagoans, I'll continue to be a hard, 'hell no,'" 45th Ward Ald. Jim Gardiner said.

"But not injecting funds into the handling of this crisis would absolutely be irresponsible at this point," 11th Ward Ald. Nicole Lee said.

Supporters contended that with the Democratic National Convention coming in August, the money is critical to handle the potential for thousand of migrants coming to the city each week in advance of the convention.

"Do you want to see 11,000 people inside of shelter or outside of buildings?," said Ald. Andre Vasquez, who is a Chair on the Committee on Immigrant and Refugee Rights. "People do not disappear because the money doesn't show up."

"I'm going to vote for this today, but I want to see accountability," 32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waguespack said. "I want to see transparency across the board."

Also Friday, the council discussed the approval of a $1.5 billion bond that would, among other things, help provide money for affordable housing.

"This affordable housing bond is a big win for all of our communities, and resulted from years of advocacy for Tax Increment Financing Reform and equitable redistribution of TIF dollars," 35th Ward Ald. Carlos Ramirez Rosa said.

The bonding issue was also approved as several attempts to revise it were raised, but a mayoral ally used a procedural maneuver to block them all.