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Chicago residents rail against planned migrant shelter

Chicago residents are opposed to the construction of a new migrant encampment in Brighton Park, raising concerns about crime, safety and contaminated soil at the site.

Chicago residents are speaking out as the city moves forward with plans for a winterized base camp to house migrants in Brighton Park. 

Work crews began construction at 38th Street and California Avenue on Wednesday and continued Thursday, even as neighbors have complained the area is not suitable for shelter, FOX 32 Chicago reported.

Local residents say the city has ignored their concerns of overcrowding and safety, as well as fears that the encampment is being built on contaminated soil. 


“They’re going to start moving as soon as they can, because they gotta cover their tails, and I’m talking about the mayor and the alderwoman. They’ve been lying since day one,” said Ricardo Palacios, a community member interviewed by FOX 32. 

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City officials have said that the camp will be completed in a matter of days and will house up to 2,000 migrants. Multiple heated tent structures will be built that will have bathrooms, showers, a kitchen and security, the outlet reported. 

Migrants housed in the facility will have an 11 p.m. curfew, according to city officials. However, residents told FOX 32 they are worried about crime and schools becoming overcrowded.

“I can handle myself, I worry more about the children in the neighborhood,” said Michael Patlan.

Locals are also concerned that the encampment is being built on a former industrial site and believe the soil is still contaminated. They are worried that the migrants who move in might become sick.

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“You got the railroad tracks right behind, when it rains the water comes in,” Palacios told FOX 32. “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 city has conducted environmental testing but has not yet released the results, FOX 32 reported. 

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson’s office told the outlet that the test results would be forthcoming.

“Details regarding environmental remediation will be provided this week,” a spokesman for Johnson’s office said in a statement. “Again, common mitigation strategies are ongoing and anticipated for completion by the end of this week, weather permitting.”

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At a press conference this week, Johnson touted the construction of the encampment and blamed his predecessor, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, for the city’s migrant crisis. 

“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. 

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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. 

FOX 23 reported Chicago is paying nearly $92,000 per month to lease the lot in Brighton Park. That is in addition to a $29 million contract the city signed with GardaWorld in September to build additional migrant camps. 

Fox News Digital’s Emma Colton contributed to this report.

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