Chicago, a city that has already spent over $100 million to care for undocumented immigrants due to President Joe Biden’s mishandling of the border crisis, is now facing a staggering $538 million budget deficit for 2024. This deficit is directly tied to the ongoing illegal immigration crisis in the city, according to a report in The Chicago Sun-Times.
The situation has become so dire that migrants are being housed in police stations, and even O’Hare airport has been transformed into a dangerous and unsanitary encampment. Despite the millions of taxpayer dollars being allocated to address the issue, the city remains overwhelmed and unable to effectively handle the influx of asylum-seekers.
In a 21-6 vote, the Council’s Budget Committee recently approved an additional $33 million federal grant to partially address the crisis. However, this amount is merely a “drop in the bucket” considering that by the end of the year, Chicago taxpayers will have already spent $255.7 million on the migrant crisis. It is expected that this number will exceed $300 million once Mayor Brandon Johnson moves forward with his plan to relocate over 2,000 asylum-seekers from police stations and airports to tent cities.
The budget shortfall comes at a time when Chicago residents are growing increasingly frustrated with the prioritization of the needs of undocumented immigrants over those of the city’s own residents. Communities, such as Chicago’s South Side and the Woodlawn neighborhood, have expressed concerns over the dangerous conditions and strain on local resources caused by the presence of migrant shelters.
A recent community forum in Chicago’s South Side witnessed tense exchanges as residents voiced their opposition to plans to convert a local hotel into a migrant shelter. Similarly, Woodlawn residents confronted city leaders regarding the detrimental impact of the shelter in their community.
Despite citizen concerns, Mayor Johnson has announced plans to continue expanding housing for undocumented immigrants. Last week, he briefed the City Council on plans to establish tent camps for migrants, revealing that the city is on track to spend over $300 million in 2023 on their care if the tents are implemented this year.
The full budget is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, when the extent of the shortfall and the specific steps that will be taken to address it will be revealed.