Chicago mayor Brandon Johnson has quietly signed a $29million contract with a security firm to build migrant base camps, as residents plead with the city’s democratic leaders to stop letting asylum seekers in the state.
The city’s deal with the controversial Garda World firm, signed last week, includes at least six locations across the city, with zones holding between 200 and 1,400 asylum seekers. It also includes bedding, laundry, showers, three meals a day and security.
It comes as Chicago residents are becoming increasingly concerned about a surge of asylum seekers arriving on buses from southern states.
Many of the migrants have been transported north from Republican border states in a bid to prove the Democrats’ open arms policies are a disaster.
‘I want to know if there is a capacity limit and what is that limit if there is one?’ one city resident asked at a community event this week. ‘And why can’t we close the borders of Chicago or the state of Illinois in the first place? Why can’t we close the border?’
Chicago has seen 13,000 migrants arrive in the city since August 2022, and the surge is expected to cost taxpayers $302 million by the end of the year.
Residents are now begging local politicians to “close the borders of Chicago” to stop illegals coming from Texas
96% of this neighborhood voted for Biden pic.twitter.com/WRkBZ4k67K
— End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) September 18, 2023
Alderman Ronnie Mosley put the blame on the federal government for letting asylum seekers in the country, and Texas, which he said ‘is making the decision to send them to Chicago.’
The contract calls for the firm to handle ’emergency logistics management and operation services that will set up shelter … and other necessary services (also called “a base camp” or “solution”)” for the new arrivals,’ as reported by the Chicago Tribune.
The migrant backlash is the latest debacle for mayor Johnson, who took over from his disastrous predecessor Lori Lightfoot in May of this year. He is proving to be no more popular than her, with fury at his mansion tax, crushing taxes on businesses and proposals like city-run supermarkets.
Earlier this month Johnson announced he planned to move about 1,600 migrants currently living in police stations or at the O’Hare or Midway airport.
Garda World has faced backlash in the past over its projects in Denver, Texas and Florida. The company has previously offered migrant services, including detention. The firm was one of the finalists for governor Ron DeSantis’ plans to relocate migrants to Democratic-led cities.
Meanwhile mayor Johnson defended the deal, arguing it’s a way to house the migrants who have until now been staying at police stations and the airport.
‘The first of Mayor Johnson’s priorities is to replace the police stations with shelters forming a base camp,’ Johnson’s office said in a statement. ‘Using this contract enables the City to stand up the base camps expeditiously, and more quickly move new arrivals from Chicago Police Department district stations as the weather begins to change.
‘As with all City-run shelters, there will be a system in place for individuals to file grievances should any issues arise. The shelters are used in accordance with American Red Cross standards and will be equipped with HVAC systems and heated to a comfortable temperature during the cold weather.
‘The base camps will be incorporated into the City’s toolbox for temporary shelters and provide a safe, short-term space with access to immediate care and resources.’
The number of migrants who need shelter in Chicago has continued to increase in recent months, and city leaders have stated they will follow New York’s lead in turning different locations around the city into shelters for migrants.
‘We’ve identified multiple locations around the city that can be suitable to treat the family and individuals who are here by law, seeking asylum constitutionally and legally, to have a place that recognizes their dignity,’ Johnson said.
Chicago officials have yet to specify which locations they are looking at, but they will reportedly be climate-controlled military-grade tents, according to alderwoman Maria Hadden.
The former Halsted Indoor Mall parking lot at 115th and Halsted Streets could be one of the locations for a planned tent camp, CBS Chicago reported. The space was supposed to be redeveloped into affordable housing but is currently sitting vacant
Last week, Chicago Democratic lawmakers traveled to New York City to ‘bring back’ lessons on how to deal with a migrant surge in the Windy City.
Furious New Yorkers heckled Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was leading their visit, outside the iconic Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan, which has become the center of the migrant scandal in the Big Apple.
The lawmakers were forced to cut the press conference short as the crowd kept drowning out Ocasio-Cortez.
‘Close the border! Close the border! Respect the constitution AOC! I am your constituent!’ one man shouted over the congresswoman’s speech into a megaphone.