Chicago City Council leaders call on mayor to increase transparency around migrants in shelters

Sarah Schulte Image
Thursday, March 28, 2024
Council leaders call for more transparency around migrants in shelters
Chicago City Council leaders are calling on Mayor Brandon Johnson to increase transparency around migrants in shelters amid an eviction policy.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- There is a push for more transparency around migrants in Chicago shelters.

Some city leaders are calling for Mayor Brandon Johnson and his administration to give more details on migrants who are currently in shelters and when they leave or are evicted.

At last check, 65 people are currently awaiting placement at the landing zone.

There are more than 10,000 migrants in 23 shelters run by both the city and state.

And 24 people have been evicted due to the city's 60-day shelter policy.

While buses carrying new arrivals have slowed down in the past few months, the Johnson administration's 60-day shelter eviction policy remains in place.

And the exact number of migrants who must leave a temporary shelter this week is a bit unclear.

"As far as numbers in particular, I'll get back you," Johnson recently said.

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More transparency and accountability from the mayor's office regarding the migrant crisis is something City Council members have been demanding for months.

Some have complained the media gets shelter exit data before aldermen do.

"As the press is getting it daily, the Council and most the members are not. We want to make sure it's in-line with reporting already out there," said Ald. Andre Vasquez, chairman of the Committee on Immigration and Refugee Rights.

Vasquez' committee passed an ordinance Thursday that will track the specifics on shelter exits and evictions so the public will know if a migrant ends up back in a shelter or on the streets homeless.

"It also adds the age, gender, how long they have been in the shelter, what their extension status is," Vasquez said.

In addition, the ordinance said the city must provide regular information on shelter complaints filed by migrants

"It will allow for advocates and the community in general to better understand some of the grievances of our migrant brother and sisters," Ald. Michael Rodriquez said.

Aldermen said if more information about migrants is provided to City Council and the public, it may help the Johnson administration gain support.

"If you ask the public about the spending of money, they want to know details as to what they are actually doing with that. So, I think providing more information to make that case is absolutely fair," Vasquez said.

The full City Council will vote on the ordinance April 17. If it passes, the city will have another 30 days to begin releasing specific data on migrants.