Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » As Lightfoot departs office, where’s the plan for helping migrants?
LIVE session coverage...
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      About     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact Rich Miller
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
As Lightfoot departs office, where’s the plan for helping migrants?

Tuesday, May 9, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Here’s some background if you need it. Block Club Chicago

In her farewell speech Monday, outgoing Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot touted her accomplishments during a term marred by a pandemic, civil unrest and a skyrocketing homicide rate.

But she failed to address the escalating crisis the city faces now that has left migrants without beds and showers living on floors of police stations and respite centers as officials scramble to serve the thousands of new people arriving in Chicago.

Alderpeople and those working on the front lines with migrants say Lightfoot’s team was “woefully unprepared” to tackle the crisis. And Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson, who takes office next week, hasn’t offered up a specific plan, either.

* More Block Club

Other alderpeople Monday criticized the city and state response to the unfolding crisis. Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) suggested that National Guard armories around the city could be good sites to temporarily house migrants.

“There really isn’t a single element of this response that’s adequate,” Hopkins said.

* FOP President John Catanzara lodged a complaint about the city housing migrants at police stations in April. But now the Police Sergeants’ Association is speaking up. WGN

Another police union is calling out the City of Chicago for sending newly arrived migrants and asylum seekers to police stations for extended periods of time.

James Calvino, president of the Chicago Police Sergeants’ Association, penned an open letter to the City where he claims, “families are remaining in stations for days and, sometimes weeks at a time.” […]

One mother told WGN she and her two daughters had been shipped back and forth between the 8th and 14th district police stations while waiting for placement at a shelter. […]

“If a Police Officer was to walk into a home with the same conditions that exists in the stations,” reads Calvino’s letter, in part. “They would be forced to call DCFS and remove any/all children, due to the poor conditions.”

Click here for the full letter from Calvino

* ABC Chicago

The New Life Center in Little Village is packed as more migrants arrive in Chicago every day, and with the pandemic-era Title 42 police ending Thursday, an even larger flood of new arrivals is expected.

All who are sent to Chicago are in need of food, shelter and resources.

“We are anticipating that it will continue to grow. What’s already happening will just continue to grow,” said Chris Ophus, assistant director of New Life Centers. […]

“The biggest thing is probably there is a need to open more shelters. There is going to be a need to open more shelters,” Ophus said.

In April, the Tribune reported that 12 migrant shelters had been closed, leaving just eight.


Chicago leaders say they are working on plans to accommodate the expected influx, but haven’t released many details.

“We’ve been thinking about a potential surge since the beginning of the year, knowing that May 11 was coming,” said Nubia Willman, the city’s chief engagement officer for communities.

The city last week started using parks buildings to temporarily house some migrants. The city has also proposed using the former South Shore High School building for what it is calling a respite center where migrants could wait for shelter beds, taking pressure off police stations. Community leaders near the high school have complained that they didn’t have input into the decision, echoing a controversy at another shuttered school, Wadsworth Elementary, which is being used as a shelter for about 500 migrants.

Chicago’s mayor-elect, Brandon Johnson, said he would work toward a coordinated response at the city, state and federal level, adding: “I’m going to work collaboratively with the people of Chicago and alderpersons who represent areas where we can be supportive for asylum seekers to make sure every community, and every person in it, is protected.”


  1. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, May 9, 23 @ 11:48 am:

    Where are the success stories from the Federal, State and Local governments that are dealing with unprecedented situation?

    I have yet to see any

  2. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, May 9, 23 @ 11:52 am:

    LP, that’s a really good point.

  3. - City Guy - Tuesday, May 9, 23 @ 11:53 am:

    One suggestion is to speak with the Archdiocese and see if there are any unused convents that can house people. Because they have individual bedrooms and common eating/living spaces, they work well for emergency housing.

  4. - Semi-retired - Tuesday, May 9, 23 @ 11:56 am:

    I really believe that the state of Illinois needs to seek out a 3rd party for this crisis. The private sector, if given the chance should have answers that are not being addressed.

  5. - Arsenal - Tuesday, May 9, 23 @ 11:58 am:

    ==Where are the success stories from the Federal, State and Local governments that are dealing with unprecedented situation?==

    This is why I brought up the migrant situation in the Houston post yesterday. “First, give them a home” seems like an extremely relevant idea in this situation, too.

  6. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, May 9, 23 @ 12:02 pm:

    ===The private sector, if given the chance ===

    What’s needed is housing.

  7. - Arsenal - Tuesday, May 9, 23 @ 12:09 pm:

    ==What’s needed is housing.==

    Yes, which is the major limitation of what I’ve said about Houston. There are plenty of ideas on what we can *turn into* housing, but the “turn into process” is not just flipping a switch.

  8. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, May 9, 23 @ 12:16 pm:

    ===Where are the success stories from the Federal, State and Local governments that are dealing with unprecedented situation?

    Good point. I know of some in Minnesota as I work with resettlement orgs and workforce training and it’s very true the success stories don’t get out there (not saying all are successes, but there are a lot of successes as people are able to get into the labor market).

  9. - P. - Tuesday, May 9, 23 @ 12:43 pm:

    Mayor-elect Johnson can not call it a “crisis” all they want but based on what they are struggling to manage now vs what could be coming in the couple weeks the situation is going to become significantly more challenging

  10. - levivotedforjudy - Tuesday, May 9, 23 @ 1:15 pm:

    Johnson has two things going for him that Lightfoot didn’t have. He will have a great relationship with Cook County and he has already found common ground with the various members of the IL Municipal League. This effort has to be “coordinated” with all stakeholders in IL on the same page. Next, philanthropists and the business community need to come to the table. JB and Johnson can do that (and Johnson has already reached out to some business associations) - smart move). D.C. is still AWOL though.

  11. - newz - Tuesday, May 9, 23 @ 2:05 pm:

    According to CBS, the Mayor has issued a State of Emergency on this issue. Press conference at 2:30.

  12. - OneMan - Tuesday, May 9, 23 @ 2:09 pm:

    Mayor Lightfoot issued an emergency declaration today.,what%20her%20office%20called%20a%20%22national%20humanitarian%20crisis.%22

  13. - Forever906 - Tuesday, May 9, 23 @ 2:26 pm:

    The number one issue is temporary work status. They are here to work and make money and can’t legally do so. We can’t get them incorporated into the legitimate economy because too many Republicans in Congress don’t want them here at all. This can only be fixed federally.

  14. - low level - Tuesday, May 9, 23 @ 2:38 pm:

    The spin doctoring shown by the departing mayor was truly mind blowing.

  15. - Betty Draper’s cigarette - Tuesday, May 9, 23 @ 3:00 pm:

    === The number one issue is temporary work status. They are here to work and make money and can’t legally do so. We can’t get them incorporated into the legitimate economy because too many Republicans in Congress don’t want them here at all. This can only be fixed federally.===
    Yes only Congress can fix this for good.
    But since they are refugees waiting for their court date they can work in 6 months.

  16. - Han Nominous - Tuesday, May 9, 23 @ 9:35 pm:

    There are a lot of empty K-marts around Chicago, and likely other empty buildings as well, both industrial and office, that could be used for temporary housing. Obviously, those buildings would have to be leased from their owners, including costs of utilities, maintenance, insurance, etc., by the State of Illinois. “Housing” doesn’t need to be a five-star hotel, it needs to provide basic shelter, climatization, nutrition, educational and sanitary facilities, some of which can be modeled after refugee camps run by UNHCR, etc.. My guess is the National Guard already has plans in place for such accommodations in the event of natural disaster.

    The refugees’ time in these facilities should be devoted to learning English and local laws, children need to attend school of some sort, and maintenance tasks need to be assigned to those staying in them as a condition of occupancy. Families and females need to be housed separately from single men. The bottom line is, this is a crisis and must be treated as such, and the goal of the refugees needs to be to ready themselves to become independent and self-supporting as soon as conditions permit.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Secretary of State has plans to install cameras and call boxes in Stratton parking garage
* Good stuff (Updated x1)
* Protect Illinois Hospitality - Vote No On House Bill 5345
* Session updates (Updated x3)
* Showcasing The Retailers Who Make Illinois Work
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
* *** 2024 end of session cheat sheet ***
* *** Live session coverage ***
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Live coverage
* Harmon: I'm hoping the Senate will be able to wrap up its business tomorrow (Updated)
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...











Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

May 2024
April 2024
March 2024
February 2024
January 2024
December 2023
November 2023
October 2023
September 2023
August 2023
July 2023
June 2023
May 2023
April 2023
March 2023
February 2023
January 2023
December 2022
November 2022
October 2022
September 2022
August 2022
July 2022
June 2022
May 2022
April 2022
March 2022
February 2022
January 2022
December 2021
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller