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Chicago migrant spending approaching $300 million


(The Center Square) – With the city’s spending on non-citizen migrants increasing, criticism of Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and his handling of the ongoing crisis also grows.

In the 11 months since Johnson took over at City Hall, data from the “New Arrivals Mission” website pegs such spending at nearly $300 million with more than 38,000 migrants having arrived in the city and around 9,700 still residing in city shelters.

Longtime local community activist Tio Hardiman, executive director of Violence Interrupters, argues enough is enough, especially with so little of the spending being fully accounted for and at least 90% of the business being doled out to just three vendors.

“First and foremost, spending $300 million on illegal immigrants is a slap in the face of all the law-abiding citizens,” Hardiman told The Center Square. “Then the money is not really being totally accounted for, that’s another slap in the face because the taxpayers have no say on how their money is being spent. That’s the reason why the law-abiding citizens voted down [real estate transfer tax referendum] Bring Home Chicago. That’s why if the citizens could have voted on whether Chicago would remain a sanctuary city, they would have voted it down.”

The Bring Chicago Home proposal failed last month with 52% of voters opposing the increased taxes on the sale of real estate over $1 million. Johnson said the $100 million raised would have been used to address homelessness. Minority business groups opposed the measure.

Hardiman added he’s heard all the stories about the migrant crisis being one that the Johnson administration inherited and is now simply scrambling to make the best of a bad situation. He sees things differently.

“The mayor definitely inherited this problem, but the reality is he has executive powers to reverse sanctuary city,” he said. “So, the migrants that are already here, yeah take care of them, but then just sign off on it saying no more. He would get backing from a lot of people if he was to do that.”

Hardiman said he doesn’t expect to see that happen given how political the issue has become.

“I don’t think it’s going to happen because there’s no will to make it happen,” he said. “There’s a political agenda … It’s not political with the homeless people that are already here because a lot of homeless people may not vote, they may not get involved. So they figure you bring in illegal immigrants, you can get them to work and you can get them to vote. After two years, they become citizens because they already provide them a pathway to citizenship.”

The Violence Interrupters executive director is just as clear about what he would like to see happen.

“The same way they found money for the illegal immigrants, now they need to dig deep into the state pockets, the county pockets and city pockets and find the money to house the homeless people in Chicago,” he said. They should have the same laser being focused on the homeless people.”