In Chicago, the move to establish a new government-operated tent encampment for homeless migrants has stirred local discontent amidst dropping temperatures and a continuous influx of


While hundreds of migrants are still finding refuge on police station floors or in tents, braving the cold weather with parkas, knit hats, and even ski goggles, discontent among the locals is growing. Dozens of protesters have congregated regularly near a construction site where one of two new shelters is being erected in the Brighton Park area of Chicago. Funded by the state of Illinois, these shelters, anticipated to open by mid-December, are designed to accommodate up to 2,200 asylum seekers and come with a price tag of $65 million.

Residents in Brighton Park have taken legal action against the city, citing a violation of Chicago's zoning laws in an attempt to halt the construction. Ricardo Palacios, a longtime resident and one of the demonstrators, expressed his dissatisfaction, stating, "These people are just getting off the bus and everything's given to them. As a taxpayer, I don't think that's right."

For months, a considerable number of migrants, lacking proper shelter, have been staying at Chicago police stations and O'Hare International Airport. Efforts have been ramped up by the city and local churches to relocate these migrants to shelters, with around 1,000 asylum seekers still residing at police stations, a decline from 4,000 three weeks earlier.

Mayor Brandon Johnson, a Democrat in office since May, has faced challenges in housing arriving migrants, especially those transported weekly by Texas, a Republican-led border state. Many migrants, predominantly from Venezuela, lack local support networks.

The urgency to address housing needs has heightened as Chicago's harsh winter approaches, prompting concerns for the safety of these individuals in freezing temperatures and snowfall.

During a recent press conference, Mayor Johnson, who is Black, criticized Texas Governor Greg Abbott's actions, labeling them as "right-wing extremism" specifically targeting cities "led by people of color." Johnson has been advocating for increased federal funding to address the escalating situation.

Since April 2022, Texas has transported over 66,000 migrants to six Democratic-run cities, including Chicago. Renae Eze, spokesperson for Governor Abbott, refuted Johnson's comments, calling them "falsehoods and outright lies," and questioned the mayor's dedication to housing migrants.

Eze referenced Mayor Johnson's earlier comments in May, where he welcomed migrants to Chicago, suggesting that the city had sufficient space. Eze emphasized that compared to small border communities, Chicago is dealing with only a fraction of the migrant population. Photo by Matthew Woitunski, Wikimedia commons.