A plan to provide $51 million in migrant care passed by a comfortable margin at this week’s Chicago City Council meeting. But the lead-up to that vote was met with upheaval and racist remarks from audience members.
Ald. Jessie Fuentes (26th Ward) said the debate needs to be looked at from a historical lens. She pointed to Black communities in Chicago that have faced disinvestment and unhoused people that haven’t received resources.
Residents are “rightfully angry” that they too need resources, she added.
“We voted for something that we had to vote for because we are in the middle of a humanitarian crisis,” Fuentes said. “But we also have a moral obligation to match funding for our West and South Side communities, as well as our unhoused siblings.”
As Ald. Byron Sigcho Lopez (25th Ward) was addressing the City Council, one person yelled out “go back to your own country.”
He said that these remarks aren’t representative of communities’ feelings.
“That should not be taken as the sentiment in our communities where we see more coalition and more unity,” Sigcho Lopez said.
The funding that passed will provide meals, transportation and clothing for the migrants that have arrived in the city from Texas. But Fuentes said this funding is “a drop in the bucket.”
More than 4,000 recent arrivals from Texas are living in city shelters. Another 500 people are sleeping the floors of police stations across the city.
Fuentes called on federal and state partners to provide support.