Black Chicago Residents Slam City Officials over $51 Million Funding for Migrants
Black citizens in Chicago flooded the city council meeting on Wednesday to express concerns over the city’s plan to allocate $51 million to support migrants in the city.
The Chicago City Council ultimately approved the $51 million funding for migrants by a 34-13 vote, much to the dismay of the city’s black residents. The funding, which is expected to last through June, comes amid a wave of migrants entering the sanctuary city due to President Joe Biden’s border crisis.
Chicago has reportedly seen more than 10,000 migrants enter the city since August.
Before the city council vote, Chicago Republicans leaders and members of the Black Community Collaborative and Neighborhood Network Alliance held a press conference urging city council to reject the $51 million plan
“We don’t know where that money is coming from,” Chicago GOP chairman Steve Boulton said. “We are not being told where that money is going to be spent. We are not being told how it is being spent. It is irresponsible for the City Council to appropriate what is no more than stopgap money that will get us through a month or two and then the problem will still be staring at us in the face.”
The black residents who spoke out against the city’s plan argued the city should divert funds to help Chicago citizens first.
Black Lives Matter Women of Faith member Caroline Ruff told the city council:
I understand that $51 million are gonna be voted on today and I encourage the alderman to please vote it down because number one, we have not opened up the schools for our homeless, we see them in the streets everyday, I make sure that the homeless are fed with clothing. We need to take care of our community, we need to take care of our black community, we need to open up these schools for mental health.
2/4 Another angry resident, the Black Lives Matter Women of Faith founder, said of the migrant fund:
— Jennie Taer (@JennieSTaer) May 31, 2023
“We have not gotten anything for our community and we are sick and tired … enough is enough,” Ruff said.
Fellow disgruntled Chicago resident Andre Smith, CEO of Chicago Against Violence, told the city council he and another individual stopped a migrant bus and were arrested as a result, the Daily Caller reported.
Smith urged the city council to approve a reparations plan for black Americans instead.
“How dare this mayor and city council have the guts to give migrants $51 million,” Smith said, speaking about newly-inaugurated Mayor Brandon Johnson (D). “I demand you to have the same passion and urgency to pass the City of Chicago Reparations Ordinance and also give us a office for black Americans, just like the new Americans.”
“We didn’t have the luxury or the opportunity to cross the border. We didn’t have the privilege to cross the border,” Smith said. “We came over here being raped, stolen, beaten, chained in the bottom of ships, and you give migrants $51 million? Have you forgot who you are?”
“Our ancestors are looking at us and holding us accountable. Don’t say you black if you not gonna put your pen where your mouth is,” Smith claimed.
The vote to allocate $51 million towards resources for migrants came the same week Mayor Johnson prematurely filled Wilbur Wright College with more than 300 migrants over local residents’ objections.
Chicago’s residents have protested the city’s support for migrants in the weeks leading up to and since Johnson’s May 15 inauguration.
“It is a slap in the face that we, as citizens of the United States of America, do not have the resources and support, but you’re going to bring people who are not citizens here in our community, in our buildings that we pay taxes for that you took away from us,” resident Natasha Dunn told local reporters earlier this month. “That is completely unacceptable … The black people in Chicago are bleeding on the streets.”
During Johnson’s inaugural address, he doubled down on his support for migrants.
“We don’t want our story to be told that we were unable to house the unhoused or provide safe harbor for those who are seeking refuge here because enough room for everyone in the city of Chicago, whether you are seeking asylum or you are looking for a fully funded neighborhood,” Johnson said.
On May 10, a movement of Chicago citizens filed a lawsuit to prevent the city from housing 500 migrants in a southside neighborhood school.
“The [city government’s] proposed action appears to disregard the zoning laws that are in place to safeguard the South Shore community. The failure to comply with these laws poses a significant threat to the rights and interests of the residents,” the lawsuit said.