Chicago is giving $9,000 to illegal migrants to assist with temporary housing after already paying out a staggering $ 7.2 million for staffing shelters in just one week.
The city now faces enormous pressure, with over 11,000 migrants in shelters and 4,000 staying in police stations and the O’Hare International Airport.
Now, the state of Illinois is helping cover costs for temporary housing for illegal migrants to free up room in shelters, including $9,000 in housing and rental assistance for six months, Chicago deputy chief of staff Cristina Pacione-Zayas confirmed.
The city has allocated $4 million already to help migrants find temporary housing, while the state contributed a further $38 million.
“That rent lasts for six months and ideally people would have started their legal process, secured legal work authorization and be able to sustain that apartment,” said Ald Pacione-Zayas.
“I guess the payment toward the landlord is based on market rate, it’s based on the configuration of the apartment. And so it varies from place to place.”
As The Daily Mail reported, Kansas-based company Favorite Healthcare Staffing billed the city more than $7.2 million to staff migrant shelters for just four weeks, as reported by NBC 5.
The invoices covered 400 employees who worked between April 22 and May 19, including one nurse who was paid $20,000 for a single week of work in December. The same nurse made $16,536 for seven days of work in April.
The city appeared to reduce hourly rates after reports of their December invoices, but the lowest paid staff rates were still $50 per hour, with the most expensive being $156 per hour before overtime.
Mayor Brandon Johnson has claimed the hourly rates were meant to cover administrative costs like hotel rooms for out-of-town employees.
Chicago has already spent $60 million on staffing shelters, including $1.4 million at former Wadsworth School, $1.6 million at the Inn of Chicago and $1.2 million at the Social Club shelter.
And the situation is not easing up, as buses from Texas continue arriving. Just last week, 41 more buses of asylum seekers who crossed the US-Mexico border arrived.
Mayor Johnson and several city council members are scheduled to visit the border this week.
“We need to go assess the situation,” Johnson said.
“This is serious. And I’ve been saying it. I mean, this ain’t the first time you’ve heard me say how serious this dynamic is.”
Most of the migrants who arrived in Chicago last year have come from Texas, largely under the direction of Republican Governor Greg Abbott.
As more migrants arrived, the city’s existing services were strained. Officials struggled to find longer-term housing solutions while saying the city needed more help from the state and federal governments.
Many migrants are from Venezuela, where the past decade’s political, social, and economic crisis has pushed millions of people into poverty. At least 7.3 million have left, risking a harrowing route to the United States.
Chicago residents have expressed rage at the influx of migrants and the temporary shelters set up.
Last week, city officials walked back plans to turn a park’s football pitch fieldhouse into a migrant shelter after protests by furious locals who argued the facility provided a safe space for the city’s youth.
It came after hundreds joined the Windy City Dolphins Youth Football League to protest the plan to turn the Amundsen Park Fieldhouse into an emergency shelter for about 200 asylum seekers.
Just two years after declaring his state the ‘Most Welcoming State in the Nation’ and expanding immigrant protections, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has begged President Joe Biden to divert migrants away from his state.
In an effort to mitigate the crisis that has overwhelmed Chicago and New York, the Biden administration said it would resume deporting Venezuelans in another stark reversal on migration policy that follows the president’s move to resume border wall construction.
Last month, Johnson quietly signed a $ 29 million contract with a security firm to build migrant base camps.
The city’s deal with the controversial Garda World firm 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 daily, and security.
City leaders have stated they will follow New York’s lead in turning different locations around the city into shelters for migrants.
Meanwhile, in New York, the migrant surge has overwhelmed the city, which has seen over 120,000 new arrivals since last August.
Estimated costs to accommodate them are set to cost $ 12 billion over three years. The staggering yearly cost is equal to the city’s sanitation, fire and parks departments budgets combined.
The historic The Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan – dubbed ‘the new Ellis Island’ by one city official – has become the registering point for the migrants and is currently housing 3,000 asylum seekers.
Adams has made a series of urgent pleas for a shift in federal immigration policy and for funding to help the city manage the arrival of migrants, which he said could cost the city $12 billion over three years as it rents space at hotels, erects new emergency shelters and provides various government services for asylum seekers.