The city of Chicago approved a controversial funding package to support migrants in the city this week over public objections. The vote also brought about a rare moment of unity between Republican officials and Black community leaders.
The Chicago City Council approved $51 million in funding in a 34-13 vote.
The city’s Republican Party chair Steve Boulton said that the city was not being forthcoming about the funding. Boulton said that there was no oversight regarding “where that money is going to be spent.”
“It is irresponsible for the City Council to appropriate what is no more than stopgap money that will get us through a month or two and then the problem will still be staring at us in the face,” he said.
Black Chicago resident yells at Mayor Brandon Johnson after the City Council allocated $51M to illegal migrants and says it should be used for reparations instead.
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) May 31, 2023
A member of a Black Lives Matter organization told the members of the city council that Chicago had not “opened up the schools for our homeless, we see them in the streets every day. I make sure that the homeless are fed with clothing.”
The speaker said that there was a need to “take care of our community” and to open the buildings intended for use by the migrants “for mental health.”
Another Black community leader demanded that the city council “have the same passion and urgency to pass the City of Chicago Reparations Ordinance and also give us an office for Black Americans, just like the new Americans.”
He referred to the difficulties of slavery and said to councilmembers not to “say you Black if you not gonna put your pen where your mouth is.”
The current pushback from Chicago residents came after significant public protests against migrant resettlement plans in the city. A number of residents from the city’s South Shore neighborhood criticized public officials over a prospective plan to house migrants in a former school building.
One protester told city officials that the plan to temporarily house the migrants at the school was a “slap in the face.”
The resident said that the city was “in a humanitarian crisis right now.”
Opponents of the plan are currently suing the city.