CHICAGO - The Chicago City Council voted in favor of spending $51 million to address the city's migrant crisis on Wednesday.
Alderpersons voted 34-13 to pass the measure during a contentious meeting with vigorous debate on both sides of the issue.
The funding will go toward housing, staffing, food and other resources for migrants that have been dropped off in Chicago.
"Chicago is facing a humanitarian crisis as individuals and families continue to be sent here and other Democratic-led cities across the country without regard for their well-being," Mayor Brandon Johnson said in a statement. "My administration will do everything in our power to support these new arrivals as they work to rebuild their lives in the U.S. while still upholding our commitments to the residents of Chicago. This appropriation is critical to support our efforts to provide housing and services in the immediate future, and I will continue to advocate for additional state and federal funding for as
long as needed."
The drastic influx of asylum seekers has become one of the most divisive issues in the city, especially in City Council. The problem has been finding funding for the thousands of whom ended up here in Chicago homeless.
Many migrants were sent to Chicago on buses from Texas without warning. The Salvation Army and city services took in some, but others had to sleep on the floor in district police stations. Some are families with children in need of food.
Officials estimated that addressing the migrant crisis from January until June has cost Chicago $102 million. The city received $30 million from Illinois to help its efforts along with $4.4 million from a FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter Program.
The $51 million that was approved Wednesday is expected to address the remaining costs.
Several groups in Chicago are asking how the city can suddenly come up with millions of dollars for new visitors, while local communities remain neglected.
"I'm asking the City Council to halt their vote. To vote no on the $51 million until we can have a tangible plan of resources for our neighborhoods for investment into these neighborhoods that are suffering the most," said activist and former mayoral candidate Ja'Mal Green.
The City of Chicago has said this is a crisis, and it is running out of money.