Key City Panel Advances Measure to Require Officials to Track Evictions From Chicago Migrant Shelters

Mayor Brandon Johnson’s administration would be required to track the number of migrants evicted from city shelters and publicly release that data every week, under a measure advanced Thursday by a key Chicago City Council committee.

Ald. Andre Vasquez (40th Ward), the chair of the Immigrant and Refugee Rights Committee, said he authored the measure to ensure “transparency, accountability and accessibility” as city officials begin slowly evicting from city shelters migrants sent to Chicago from the southern border.

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors

The measure set for a final vote by the full City Council on April 17 would require officials to detail how many people are evicted from city shelters every week. In addition, officials must report on the type and number of complaints filed by shelter residents twice per month, according to the proposal.

While those reports won’t identify individuals, they must list the gender and age of the migrants forced to leave a city shelter, and include information about where they lived, how long they were there, whether they asked for an extension and when they were evicted, according to the measure.

Vasquez has repeatedly called for the mayor to scrap the 60-day limit he began enforcing earlier this month on shelter stays, but Johnson has said the city had no choice but to evict migrants without additional substantial help from federal officials.

Vasquez originally demanded that much of that data be released on a daily basis, but he agreed to weekly reports after representatives of the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services said that would be too cumbersome.

The reports will also identify the migrants’ country of origin, at the request of Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd Ward).

Since city officials began enforcing the 60-day limit on shelter stays, just 24 people have been forced to leave city facilities, according to city data.

Approximately 38,000 migrants, all of whom are in the country legally after requesting asylum, have made their way to Chicago as part of an effort by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, to damage President Joe Biden’s chances for reelection and divide Democratic voters.

The number of migrants arriving in Chicago has risen 5% in the past month, according to city officials.

Fewer than 10,300 people were living in 23 city facilities as of Thursday, a 15% drop since Feb. 28, according to city data.

City officials are also coping with a worsening measles outbreak at the city’s largest shelter for migrants, located in Pilsen.

Since March 18, Chicago officials have confirmed 30 cases of the highly infectious disease.

Nearly 70% of the cases are in children younger than 4, according to city data.

In all, 43 Chicagoans have been diagnosed with measles since March 4.

The increase in measles cases is concentrated among young children at the Pilsen migrant shelter who recently received a single-dose MMR vaccine, according to a statement from city health officials.

A new policy will require all residents of the shelter to receive a second measles vaccine dose 28 days after the first dose, officials said.

About 50 families with children between the ages of 1 and 5 are being asked to keep their children home from child care and preschool until 21 days after they have received a second dose of the vaccine or 21 days after last exposure if the children cannot be vaccinated, officials said.

City officials plan to begin moving approximately 800 migrants out of five Chicago Park District facilities being used as shelters on Saturday to allow summer programs to take place as scheduled.

At the most recent peak of the migrant crisis facing Chicago, the five fieldhouses at Brands Park, Gage Park, Piotrowski Park, Broadway Armory Park and Leone Park housed nearly 1,200 people.

City officials will attempt to move the migrants to the nearest shelters, and “children are expected to remain in the same school during and after the transition,” according to a statement from the mayor’s office.

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors