Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson said he “inherited” the Windy City’s migrant crisis from his predecessor, former Mayor Lori Lightfoot, during a press conference touting construction of the city’s first government-run migrant tent encampment.
“Look, the international crisis that I inherited six months ago, I’ve made it very clear that we are going to make sure that we remove people out of police districts: women, children who are living on floors and sleeping outside, that we’re going to create spaces that provide more dignity,” Johnson said Tuesday.
At least 20,000 migrants have poured into Chicago since August 2022, when many migrants were bused from the southern border states to liberal cities farther north. Efforts have been underway to strip Chicago of its sanctuary city status as some residents sound off about the issue.
In addition to the influx of migrants who lack shelter, an estimated 68,000 Chicago citizens are considered homeless, Fox News Digital reported earlier this month.
The city has struggled with where to house the people, relying on police stations and O’Hare International Airport. Now, Johnson said his government is working with 17 churches as part of the “Unity Initiative” to move migrants from the public spaces and into the churches for shelter, and announced the construction of the Brighton Park migrant camp, Chicago’s first government-run migrant tent encampment.
“Did you know when I was sworn in in May, the previous City council did not budget for 2023’s migrant mission,” Johnson added. “So not only have we stood up the full force of government in a collaborative way, we did it without the previous city council even providing resources for it.”
Lightfoot was voted out of the run-off election earlier this year as voters voiced that crime was their top concern.
Under Lightfoot’s tenure, Chicago recorded 2,784 homicides and a total of 14,681 shooting incidents, according to police data from 2019 to May of this year, when Johnson was sworn in as mayor. The number of homicides and shooting incidents during Lightfoot’s administration notched a 9% increase from the 2,546 homicides and 13,421 shootings that took place during her predecessor, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s, final term in office.
Johnson also slammed “right-wing extremism” for the woes in his city, arguing Republicans offer no solutions to crime and intentionally create “chaos” in Democratic-run cities.
“What we’ve seen is a very raggedy form of right-wing extremism,” Johnson said. “Everyone knows that the right-wing extremism in this country has targeted democratically-run cities, and quite frankly, they have been quite intentional about going after democratically-ran cities that are led by people of color. And their whole motivation is to create disruption and chaos.”
“This is the same political party that did not want to accept that President Obama was actually an American. This is the same Republican right-wing extremism that stormed the Capitol. It’s the same right-wing extremism that refuses to accept the results of the Civil War. It’s raggedy, it’s disrespectful,” he said.