CHICAGO - The city of Chicago on Sunday again delayed plans to bus hundreds of migrants and asylum-seekers from a North Side shelter to a Southwest Side community college.
Mayor Brandon Johnson’s administration had planned the transfer for last week, then announced Friday it would occur on Sunday. But it put off the transfer for a second time after many of the people affected said they prefer not to be moved across town.
The migrants and asylum-seekers are now at the High Ridge YMCA, 2424 W. Touhy Ave. The plan had been to relocate them to Daley College, at 76th Street and Pulaski Road, where some migrants and asylum-seekers already have been staying.
"The City’s overall goal is to ensure that shelters are a short-term solution, and to relieve pressure on Chicago Police Department district stations by providing shelter for more than 400 single new arrivals," the mayor’s office said in a statement sent to the Sun-Times early Sunday afternoon.
"After careful consideration of the impact this would have on asylum-seeking families and the overall mission, and to provide more time for planning by the receiving community as well as possible alternatives to Daley College, the City has decided to postpone moving migrant families from High Ridge YMCA to Daley today."
Some migrants at the shuttered YMCA told the Sun-Times Sunday they have not been told when they would be transferred. One said he preferred to stay at the YMCA, where he had made connections in the surrounding West Ridge community.
Meanwhile, a City Council member representing the Daley College neighborhood said she has been kept in the dark about plans.
Ald. Jeylu Gutierrez (14th) said Sunday she was told Friday about the plans for the now-delayed Sunday move. But, she added, the mayor’s office was unclear about exactly who was to be moved. She said the mayor’s office waited until Sunday afternoon to tell her the plan had been delayed yet again, with no details about the next step or moving date.
"The mayor’s office wanted me to welcome them" at Daley College on Sunday, "but I don’t have the details," she had said Sunday morning. "They said families (would be moved), they said singles. I don’t know what’s going on. … We need answers."
Johnson’s administration released a statement late Friday afternoon delaying the move after TV news reports earlier that day in which migrant families said they were uncomfortable with leaving the YMCA.
In its Friday statement, Johnson’s office said the decision to delay the move was made after "careful consideration of the impact this would have on asylum-seeking families and the overall mission, and to provide more time for planning by the receiving community."
That Friday statement, like the one issued Sunday, said one goal is easing pressure on the Chicago police district stations where some migrants have been staying.
Migrants relocated to Daley College also would also be able to access services offered by Chicago Public Schools at Hurley Elementary, about a mile away, and receive the same services they currently do at other city shelters.
"The Daley College community has been very welcoming to the new arrivals already in residence, and our administration is certain it will provide a warm welcome to these families as well," Johnson’s statement said.
During a community meeting last week, Gutierrez was told families would be given priority to move into Daley College, which she said the city will use as a temporary shelter until Aug. 1.
The city began using the college as a shelter in early June, following a contentious community meeting where residents were divided about supporting the asylum seekers.
High Ridge YMCA was closed permanently in January 2021.
Gutierrez said the mayor’s office is "trying their best," adding: "It would be better for us to know what’s going on."
Contributing: Anthony Vazquez