Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson says he will travel to Washington, D.C. to push for more federal assistance for migrants arriving in the city, but he is facing pushback on a proposed housing site in downtown Chicago.
As of Wednesday, more than 20,000 migrants have arrived in Chicago in the last 14 months. Nearly 12,000 are in city shelters, with 3,317 awaiting placement. Most of those individuals remain at Chicago Police facilities, with more than 500 currently at O’Hare International Airport.
Now, reports are emerging that the mayor’s office is considering the former location of the Museum of Broadcast Communications, which is near Marina City in downtown Chicago.
Earlier this week, Ald. Brendan Reilly had said the city was considering a hotel at Marina City as a possible site for migrant housing, and though that turned out to be in accurate, Reilly says that the mayor is playing “semantic games” with the project.
“While the administration was correct when they said 333 North Dearborn was not being considered to serve as a migrant facility, they chose to omit the fact that they are considering another address at Marina City for migrant housing,” he said. “The administration’s careful use of semantics, dishonesty by omission and total disregard for public transparency around potential sites for migrant housing is not good government. It is wrong.
Reilly says Johnson has “failed to create and implement a comprehensive plan” amid the crisis, and that such failure is “unacceptable.”
While the mayor didn’t declare that officials had looked at the museum site, he did say that the city is continuing to look at a “variety of locations” for migrant housing.
For now, Johnson will head to Washington to lobby for additional federal assistance.
“From day one, I’ve said that the federal government has to do more,” he said. “We have borne the brunt of the responsibility here. That’s now an equitable distribution of how government should cooperate.”
In the meantime, some members of the City Council want the city to let voters decide if Chicago will be a “sanctuary city.” Such a motion was tabled on Wednesday, as was a decision on whether to use a vacant lot at 115th Street and Halsted as a site for migrant shelters.