Video: The WTTW News Spotlight Politics team takes on the day’s biggest stories. (Produced by Paul Caine)
Three conservative members of the Chicago City Council blocked a scheduled vote Wednesday on a measure to spend $51 million from the city’s 2021 budget surplus to help care for migrants sent to Chicago from Texas.
Approximately 784 men, women and children are living on floors in Chicago police stations across the city as of Tuesday, officials said. That has risen more than 55% in two weeks, an indication the humanitarian crisis facing the city continues to accelerate.
Alds. Raymond Lopez (15th Ward), Anthony Beale (9th Ward) and Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st Ward) — used a parliamentary procedure known as defer and publish to prevent a vote on Wednesday.
The proposal could come back for a vote at the next meeting of the Chicago City Council, now set for May 31 — three weeks earlier than usual.
Johnson, who has been mayor for 10 days, took office during a crisis that has exacerbated tensions between Black and Latino residents and stretched the city’s social safety net past the breaking point.
City officials are scrambling to open additional shelters and respite centers, but have identified few locations equipped to house at least 100 people. Plans to create a shelter at the vacant South Shore High School touched off a political firestorm.
In all, city officials expect to spend $112 million to care for migrants through the end of June. Despite pleading for help from state and federal officials, the city has received just $30 million from the state and $4.3 million from the federal government since Jan. 1. The city received just $5.5 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to care for immigrants who arrived in 2022.
Nearly 10,000 people, most of them from Central and South America, have arrived in Chicago since Aug. 31, when Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent the first bus of migrants to Chicago, officials said. Approximately 3,000 migrants, who are in the country legally after requesting asylum and being granted parole, are being housed in the city’s shelters, officials said.