Demonstrators spar with Chicago officials over where to house migrants

A discussion on housing migrants in Chicago turned into an intense confrontation Wednesday before the City Council meeting.

One of the top issues for the City Council is finding funding for the thousands of asylum seekers who landed in Chicago.

Several alderpersons and activists have proposals for a situation they called a crisis.

Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) said the last administration failed to collaborate with communities when dealing with migrants bussed to Chicago.

The group introduced plans to use city spaces for migrant housing and for Chicagoans who are unhoused.

Lucia Calderon, Chief of Staff for Alderman Sigcho-Lopez said the group toured Daley College on the South Side.

"Daley College has four buildings that are currently not in use, Calderon said." They are not in use and it will not affect the programming that currently exists in the main building at Daley College.

If Daley College was approved, the buildings could house 600 people.

"Not only do we house asylum seekers currently sleeping in police stations feeling the cold through the concrete floor in police stations but that we also ensure we house our unhoused siblings that are in tent encampments across the city" Ald. Jessie Fuentes (26th) said.


In a news conference Wednesday, the group stressed community involvement would lead the decision-making but their announcement was interrupted by members of a group called Ex Cons for Community and Social Change, who said homeless Chicagoans, especially Black residents, are being ignored. 

The confrontation raised the volume on conflict in the community.

Tyrone Muhammad, founder of Ex-Cons for Community and Social Change took over the news conference and shouted: "They use us to fill prisons and graveyards." 

Muhammad said housing, unemployment and mental health issues must be addressed to end violence. 

One of the demonstrators said it is not a race issue but a housing issue that they hope this City Council will make a priority.