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Chicago suburb official suggests locals ‘sign up’ to house migrants

‘I think we live in a compassionate community,’ the Naperville council member said

Kelly Rissman
Tuesday 23 January 2024 18:24 GMT
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Naperville city council member proposed locals could ‘sign up’ to house migrant families

A city council member in the Chicago suburb of Naperville proposed that local families who want to volunteer to house migrants should put their names on a sign-up sheet.

“I think we live in a compassionate community,” Naperville Council member Josh McBroom said at a city council meeting on 16 January, before recommending that his staff “create a sign-up sheet for individuals that would be willing to house migrant families”.

“We hear from people that we should do more,” Mr McBroom said. “We do have a very affluent community, a lot of big homes.”

Although the city council member said that he doesn’t support using taxpayer money to fund migrant aid, he sought volunteers to house migrants.

“If there are people who can do that, God bless them,” he said.

The Naperville City Council spokesperson Linda LaCloche told The Independent that staff were asked to “prepare a future agenda item so Council may consider whether to create a sign-up opportunity for residents to volunteer to host migrants.” But the date of when that initiative will be discussed has not yet been determined.

Chicago and its surrounding suburbs have been under strain due to the influx of asylum seekers, who have been bused from Texas to Chicago. Data shows that Texas governor Greg Abbott has sent over 600 buses and more than 30,000 migrants to the Chicago area since August 2022.

At the end of last year, the city of Chicago implemented new rules around where buses could drop off new arrivals and what times they could do so. To circumvent these restrictions, bus companies began dropping off migrants at Metra train stations in the Chicago suburbs.

Six buses transporting asylum seekers have stopped at Naperville’s Metra station since 21 December through last week, a Naperville spokesperson told the Chicago Tribune.

At the Naperville city council meeting, Mr McBroom said that there is “increasing pressure for suburbs to do our part”. He added, “I’m hearing stories about little kids at train stations without coats on.” The Chicago cold only makes matters even worse for asylum seekers.

Last week, due to the extreme cold temperatures, Chicago mayor Brandon Johnson announced that he was pushing back the 60-day limit to evict migrants from shelters until 1 February. This is the second time the mayor has extended the deadline; he previously moved the deadline to 22 January.

“To be clear, we’re not evicting new arrivals out into the cold,” Mr Johnson explained, according to WTTW.

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