South Side Chicago Residents Outraged as City Spends Millions Housing Border Crossers in Abandoned School
Residents of Chicago’s South Side, home to the city’s poorest neighborhoods, are outraged as Democrat Mayor Lori Lightfoot spends millions housing newly arrived border crossers in an abandoned school.
Earlier this month, Lightfoot’s administration began housing border crossers in Wadsworth Elementary School — an abandoned school that sits in the city’s Woodlawn neighborhood. The school was closed a decade ago after the community tried to save it.
Some residents told the Wall Street Journal that city officials failed to take their community into account before deciding the house the border crossers in their neighborhood. In total, the city is spending nearly $7 million to shelter and offer services to the new arrivals.
The Journal reports:
“I’ve got nothing against them,” Luis Cardona, a retired tow-truck driver who helped organize Friday’s demonstration, said of the migrants. “We need to help the people here that need it, and then help the other people.” [Emphasis added]
In Woodlawn, some residents said the neighborhood has long been underserved by the city, and that the reopening of the school to house migrants represented another instance of the city acting against the community’s wishes. [Emphasis added]
The school’s closing was “like a feeling of just total disregard and disrespect for the community,” said Patricia Hightower, an 80-year-old community activist. [Emphasis added]
Since last August, an estimated 5,100 border crossers have been bused to Chicago mostly from Texas though some have arrived from Arizona and Colorado. The overwhelming majority, nearly 80 percent, have been housed by the city and received public services.
Andre Smith, a local activist in Woodlawn who is running against Alderman Jeannette Taylor, told FOX32 News that the community knows close to nothing about the newly arrived border crossers despite their being sent to the area.
“We don’t know anything about the people except they’ve fled danger in their countries,” Smith said. Meanwhile, Taylor has complained that the housing of border crossers in the community will have a negative impact on home values.