Residents of Chicago’s Brighton Park neighborhood are protesting the construction of a government-run tent encampment for illegal immigrants, comprising two shelters expected to open in mid-December. Costing $65 million and accommodating up to 2,200 individuals, the project, funded by the state of Illinois, faces legal challenges from residents who argue it violates zoning laws, Reuters reports.
Protestors express concerns about insufficient communication regarding the project, citing potential issues such as a perceived lack of enforcement for the 11 pm curfew imposed on encampment residents, potential increases in crime, and overcrowded schools. Some residents also worry about the site’s environmental impact, contending that the former industrial site may have contaminated soil. They fear that previous attempts to utilize the land failed due to this issue.
Critics emphasize the financial burden on taxpayers, pointing to the city’s $92,000 monthly lease cost for the lot and a $29 million contract with Canadian company GardaWorld to construct camps for illegal immigrants throughout the city.
“These people are just getting off the bus and everything’s given to them,” said resident Ricardo Palacios to Fox 32. “As a taxpayer, I don’t think that’s right.”
“You got the railroad tracks right behind, when it rains the water comes in,” said Palacios. “So guess what’s going to end up happening? Sooner or later, people are going to end up getting sick, they’re going to sue the City of Chicago, us as taxpayers, we’re going to end up paying double.”
The situation underscores tensions between government initiatives addressing immigration and local residents’ concerns over transparency, public safety, and environmental impact.