Chicago Funds Illegal Immigrant Camps, No Relief For Underserved Residents

The quagmire of open border policies hit a new low as Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson announced in September that the city would spend $26.3 million to erect six refugee-style camps throughout the city with the aim of housing the rising tide of illegal immigrants flooding in from the southern border. The sanctuary city of Chicago has seen around 11,000 migrants come to the city since August 2022 and has busloads arriving daily from Texas and other border states.

Meanwhile, Chicago continues to struggle with a growing homelessness issue with few solutions in place. According to an investigation by the Illinois Answers Project, Chicago has spent just 7% of the $52 million allocated for homeless services. About 3,600 people are homeless in the city with around two-thirds housed in shelters.

Johnson describes the new plan for housing migrants as “winterized tents” which can house as many as 1,000 people for short periods of time. GardaWorld Federal Services was awarded the contract to construct the so-called “base camps.” A similar proposal was rejected in Denver, Colo. after public outcry over the lack of experience the company has in dealing with migrant populations and a pattern of mistreatment and abuses alleged to occur at the Fort Bliss facility in Texas.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, former President Donald Trump and Republicans instituted a policy that refused to allow migrants free and open access to the United States. The policy, called Title 42, was allowed to expire in May by the current administration. This lapse signaled to migrants that the U.S. was open and willing to accept them and increasing lines of immigrants have overwhelmed border towns that are not receiving help from the federal government.

The latest example came from Eagle Pass, Texas, where earlier this week, a constant flow of immigrants crossed the Rio Grande into Texas. The caravan took more than an hour and a half to wade through the river and enter the country illegally. The sheer numbers of immigrants made it impossible for Customs and Border Patrol to effectively account for the swarm of people.

Texas is reporting around 10,000 captures every 24 hours and due to the policies of President Joe Biden’s administration, a large number of the immigrants are released in the country with a notice to appear before an immigration judge to have their claims heard. Only about 85% of immigrants actually appear, leaving thousands every month to move freely throughout the country.

As winter sets in, Chicago will become even less hospitable for immigrants who are currently housed in police stations and other make-shift camps. It is not clear how long it will take GardaWorld to erect the camps but city officials expect the work to be completed before the temperatures drop. The camps could help alleviate the crowded and often violent conditions currently in place but still leave thousands of Chicago residents who are homeless out in the cold.

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