Mayor Johnson reverses course on Mexican border visit, will stay in Chicago to address housing issues

Mayor Brandon Johnson announced Monday that he will not visit the Southern border, instead he will send a delegation of local leaders starting this Tuesday.

Johnson initially said on Oct. 5 he would visit the Mexican border with his family to see for himself the unfolding disaster creating havoc and hardship in Chicago.

"We need to go assess the situation — just like our team has gone to D.C. We need better coordination, quite frankly," Johnson said at the time.

On Monday, Johnson announced a small delegation of local leaders would travel to the Texas cities of Brownsville, El Paso, McAllen and San Antonio.

"A point of emphasis will be establishing better lines of communication and collecting migrant data to expedite work authorization processing and the transition to self-sufficiency," the statement read. "The Chicago delegation will also be sharing pertinent information about extreme housing and weather conditions currently facing asylum seekers in Chicago, and the immense challenges awaiting those without verified sponsors."

The delegation will report back to Johnson and others and plan to make a follow-up trip to the region.

Johnson will stay in Chicago to "address the immediate urgency of adding shelter space to house thousands of new arrivals currently sleeping in police stations, airports or outside."