Saturday, July 13, 2024

Chicago Resident Fears Chaos After Pritzker Announces New Migrant Shelters

“They smoked weed 24/7, they peed on the trees in the park, had sex in the park in front of kids. It was chaotic..."

(Catrina Petersen, The Center Square) Additional taxpayer-supported shelters are set to serve migrants arriving in Chicago. The two new shelters and one existing shelter will house a total combined capacity of 2,000 people.

“I’m thankful to our partners and the contributions across City, State, County, and nonprofit sectors. These additional shelters provide meaningful support to families seeking stability as they take their next steps toward independence,” said Dulce Quintero, Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary Designate.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker made the announcement Tuesday.

“In Illinois, we’re implementing our comprehensive data-driven plan to improve our response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis and amplify the effectiveness of State, County, and City investments,” Pritzker said in a news release.

One Chicago resident said she knows all too well what Chicagoans will see as a result of these additional shelters opening up. Cassi Almeida, a resident, fought with Chicago aldermen and residents to shut down a shelter at the Gage Park fieldhouse.

“They smoked weed 24/7, they peed on the trees in the park, had sex in the park in front of kids. It was chaotic. I think it’s a huge mistake for Pritzker to open more shelters,” said Almeida, who is a Brazilian immigrant. “Some of those people don’t have any respect for the neighborhoods they are staying in.”

Pritzker said the additional temporary shelters will ensure that shelter capacity and services remain accessible to asylum-seeker families. Almeida said she used to cry on her couch because of the chaos that gripped Gage Park just a few months ago when migrants were sheltering in the fieldhouse.

“I had one of them at about 4 in the afternoon pull his pants down and pee right in front of my house,” said Almeida. “I’m not against immigrants. I am from Brazil, but when they act with this disrespect it is totally out of the question. To have the government and the mayor applaud and accept this disruption here in Chicago? It’s terrible and shameful, and America is not the same thanks to them.”

The Center Square obtained doorbell camera footage from Almeida that shows a man appearing to urinate in front of her house.

In addition to the already established shelter in Little Village, the two new shelters will be former hotels. One shelter is the Hyde Park Shelter and the other is Midway Shelter. The state-supported shelters will continue operations in fiscal year 2025 as part of the joint funding agreement between the city of Chicago and Cook County. The state is committing $182 million of taxpayer funds in fiscal 2025.

A lawmaker is estimating $3 billion of taxpayer money has been dedicated to supporting illegal immigrants arriving in Chicago and other parts of the state.

State Rep. Adam Neimerg, R-Dieterich, explained that legal migrants and Illinois citizens are being put last.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out exactly what the Dems are doing. If this was about compassion and humanity they wouldn’t be doing this. We’re putting veterans, homeless, and folks in the inner cities last. People who are struggling to pay for groceries. This is a Democrat-voter registration drive,” said Neimerg.

Almeida said she feels like the hard work put into ending one shelter is going out the window and her newfound peace will be lost.

“You want to see a third-world country? Welcome to the United States of America. This is what you guys are getting now [with these migrant shelters.] All the things people think about when they hear about third world countries, people begging and kids selling food in the streets. Come to Chicago and see for yourself,” said Almeida.

The Gage Park fieldhouse migrants were moved out of the shelter in April of 2024. The exact locations of the new migrant shelters weren’t published but the Midway Shelter will be on the Southwest side of Chicago. The plan is to begin moving in families in July. This shelter has a maximum capacity of 950 residents.

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