Aldermen ask mayor not to evict migrants from Chicago shelters after 60 days, but face pushback

Craig Wall Image
Tuesday, March 12, 2024
Some aldermen ask mayor not to evict Chicago migrants after 60 days
Some aldermen are asking Mayor Brandon Johnson not to evict migrants from Chicago shelters after 60 days, but face pushback from others and residents.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Some members of the Chicago City Council are calling on Mayor Brandon Johnson to abolish the policy of evicting newly arrived migrants from city shelters after 60 days.

A number of council members are pushing for the permanent elimination of the eviction policy because of concerns about putting people on the street, but that idea is being met with some resistance.

Outside the migrant shelter at the Gage Park Fieldhouse, the nicer weather is welcome. But for migrants who could soon face evictions starting March 16, better weather doesn't alleviate their concerns about housing.

"There are a lot of worries. But I think housing is on top of the list," said Erika Villegas, a mutual aid volunteer.

Tuesday Ald. Andre7 Vasquez, who is chairman of the Committee on Immigrant and Refugee Rights, was collecting signatures from fellow alderpersons on a letter to Mayor Johnson, asking the city to end its eviction policy permanently.

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"What you're going to see in a number of months is an increase in the amount of homelessness and these folks aren't going to go back to the landing zone, right? They're gonna go back to neighborhoods they know. So you're gonna see it in your viaducts, your parks, your streets, your highways," he said.

But Vasquez, who during the winter months successfully worked to get evictions suspended, could be facing an uphill battle this time around.

"I don't want to see families kicked to the street and then it's going to overflow into our wards and our communities are going to be coming in our office. So this needs to be resolved," said 38th Ward Ald. Nick Sposato.

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"It's not the dead of winter, we've got a different situation here. We need to help motivate people to find something permanent, so that they can move on with their lives. Shelter is not designed to be permanent," said 28th Ward Ald. Jason Ervin.

And another migrant issue is building in Gage Park, where residents are circulating a petition to have that shelter decompressed and the fieldhouse returned to local residents.

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"They understand that we've done our part, they understand that they took this endeavor to help get them out of the police stations at that time last summer. But we can't just continue to go down this path without any kind of a plan," said 15th Ward Ald. Ray Lopez.

The mayor's office said the migrant situation is a fluid one, but a decision on the 60-day eviction policy could be coming by the end of the week.