Chicago, IL

Chicago Residents Demand Resources for South, West Side Instead of Exclusive Focus on Migrants

Natalie Frank, Ph.D.

Chicago residents are fed up over so much money and other resources being given to migrants when there are many residents of Chicago who have waited for help for a long time
South Side ChicagoPhoto byDavid Wilson/flickr [CC BY 2.0]

A group of black homeowners and concerned residents in Chicago are vocalizing their concerns and frustrations regarding the city's handling of the migrant crisis. They believe that the resources allocated for migrants should be redirected to benefit existing residents of the South and West sides, particularly struggling Black neighborhoods.

The group emphasizes that Chicago should shift its attention and funding to address the long-standing humanitarian crisis faced by Black residents, including issues related to housing, employment, and more. Community organizer Jessica Jackson expressed their concerns, asking how Black residents have been pushed to the background while the city focuses on migrants.

On Wednesday, demonstrators voiced their opposition to resources going to migrants, asserting that the city should reallocate tens of millions of dollars committed for migrants needs to Chicago's most vulnerable neighborhoods. Jackson pointed out the historical under-resourcing and under-funding of the South Side, which has persisted for decades. She highlighted the need for schools to be reopened and emphasized that the city's INVEST South/West initiative, designed to address disinvestment in these areas with over $2.2 billion in funding, has been abandoned.

"We are taxpayers. We are property owners," Jackson stated. "Our money should be going to our communities, not supporting people who haven't put a dime into our communities. Whether it's one shelter or whether it's ten shelters, the South Side of Chicago is not made to house immigrants, non-citizens. We're saying the facilities that are there for us, the money needs to be put into those facilities for us."

Since August 2022, Chicago has received over 15,000 migrants, leading to concerns about capacity and resources. While there are more than 20 active migrant shelters in Chicago, including seven on the South and West sides, community organizers argue that these facilities should receive funding to support existing residents instead of migrants.

In response, the city emphasized its commitment to continued investment for all residents, with a focus on communities that have long faced disinvestment on the South and West sides. They stated that Mayor Johnson and city officials are dedicated to delivering affordable housing, well-funded schools, safe streets, and living wages for all residents.

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