A Chicago resident who was arrested earlier this year while trying to block migrant buses in Chicago has criticized the city’s new $51 million immigrant relief program.
Andre Smith, 55, described the situation in Chicago as a “mess” and demanded that city officials temporarily suspend the sanctuary status of the city, which has been overwhelmed by more than 10,000 migrants since August.
‘It’s just a mess here,’ he told Fox & Friends Weekend SATURDAY.
“We have $160 million in Chicago that has been spent on migrants with no case, no plan. And now we’re about to spend $51 million that passed city council without a case, without a plan for 500 migrants for 30 days. It’s unheard of,” he added.
Smith was also present at the stormy town hall meeting last week during which the package was debated and during which police had to keep members of the public away.
Andre Smith, 55, who was arrested earlier this year trying to block migrant buses from entering Chicago, has criticized the city’s new $51 million immigrant relief program .
Smith called on Mayor Brandon Johnson, who took office last month, to suspend Chicago’s sanctuary city status
‘This has never been done before. 500 migrants, 51 million dollars. No execution plan, so I’m asking for a forensic audit,” Smith said.
“I’m calling for a sanctuary takeover on this city, I’m calling on the mayor to freeze on what we call a sanctuary disaster.”
Smith suggested that some of the money earmarked for the migrant package be invested in struggling black communities in Chicago.
“When you look at all of Memorial Day, we had 53 people shot in the city of Chicago, 11 killed. It’s just Memorial Day weekend. So you can use that money for crime,” he said.
The Chicago Police Department said 53 people were shot in 42 separate incidents between 6 p.m. Friday and 11:59 p.m. Monday, WTTW reported at the time. One person was also fatally stabbed.
Smith said his fight against city officials will continue.
“I waited 55 years to be arrested stopping a migrant bus to go to a school paid for by taxpayers,” he said. ‘The fight will continue. Whether we go to jail or not, we will fight,” he added.
At least three people, including Smith, were arrested while protesting Chicago’s decision to relocate migrants to a former school building in Woodlawn in February, Block Chicago Club reported.
In May, furious Chicagoans filed a lawsuit against the city after it announced plans to house illegal immigrants in a disused South Side high school.
The former South Shore High School was to become a temporary holding space for up to 500 migrants, but officials were unable to say at the time for how long.
More than 10,000 migrants have flooded the city since buses began arriving from the US-Mexico border in August and some have had to resort to sleeping in police stations as Chicago runs out of housing options.
Officials have pleaded for more financial aid for the migrant crisis, but others have demanded the money go to other neighborhoods.
“We need to allocate some of this money to our black children, to the black community,” an audience member said at the meeting last week.
In a dramatic session last Wednesday, Chicago lawmakers voted in favor of a $51 million temporary package to handle the city’s escalating migrant crisis. Pictured is an animated man addressing council members
The funding, which passed 43-13, will only last until June and is designed to help Mayor Brandon Johnson adjust to the crisis he inherited from former mayor Lori Lightfoot.
The new funding, which passed 43 votes to 13 last week, will last only until June and is designed to help Mayor Brandon Johnson, who took office just two weeks ago, through a crisis whose he inherited from outgoing mayor, Lori Lightfoot.
In her final days as mayor, she declared the migrant situation in Chicago a “state of emergency”. Officials said they could not afford to rent hotel rooms for migrants, who arrived in the city and with nowhere to go, began to fill police stations.
The new money will be spent on staff, food, transport and legal services in the temporary shelters, in the hope that this relieve the crisis of the city.
Alderman Jason Ervin, Chairman of the Budget Committee, says ABC7 the city is going to have to come up with a long-term plan, and that the money is primarily intended to give Johnson’s administration a break.
“There needs to be a bigger plan and I think it was always designed to give the incoming administration time to do that.” This is a stopgap measure, pure and simple,” he said after the proposal passed.
Much of Wednesday afternoon’s debate was racist and saw black Chicagoans and Hispanic migrants as two separate groups in need.
“We need to allocate some of this money to our black children, to the black community,” an audience member shouted.
However, some speakers encouraged taking a less divisive view.
“We have to help the people of this great city. It’s not one or the other. It’s both,’ Alderman David Moore of the 17th Arrondissement said.
Jeanette Taylor of the 20th Arrondissement (pictured) was reduced to tears as she pleaded with people to empathize with migrants despite feeling the city was neglecting black communities
Jeanette Taylor of the 20th Precinct was reduced to tears as she addressed the crowd, who then applauded her remarks.
“We’re just fighting to drink from a fucking fountain, but hurting people doesn’t hurt other hurt people,” she said.
Chicago Republican Party Chairman Steve Boulton was outright critical of the funding.
“We don’t know where this money is coming from,” he said. “We are not told where this money is going to be spent. We are not told how it is spent.
“It is irresponsible of the council to appropriate what is nothing more than interim money that will get us through a month or two and then the issue will still be staring us in the face.”
Alderman Maria Hadden of the 49th Ward voted in favor of the additional funding, but asked community members to think about black residents as well.
“Everyone who works hard for this, you have to show up for black Chicagoans with the same energy, and that means money,” Hadden said at the meeting.
Videos and photos from recent weeks have shown hallways in some Chicago neighborhoods lined with mattresses and belongings of migrants
Chicago is one of many Democratic-run cities where southern states have bussed migrants as the US-Mexico border crisis worsens
Videos and photos in recent weeks have shown hallways in some Chicago neighborhoods lined with mattresses and personal belongings of migrants.
Chicago is one of many Democratic-run cities where southern states have bussed in migrants as the US-Mexico border crisis worsens.
Footage released by photojournalist Rebecca Brannon showed dozens of migrants sitting on and around mattresses at a Chicago police station.
Brannon reported that many migrants slept and ate on the ground, which interfered with daily police activities.
More than 10,000 migrants have arrived in Chicago since August, when southern states began ferrying asylum seekers north. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has sent migrants to Democratic-run cities to help ease the burden on border towns.
“To provide much-needed relief to our overrun border communities, Texas has begun ferrying migrants to sanctuary cities such as your ‘Welcoming City,’ as well as Washington, DC, New York and Philadelphia, with more to come.
“Until Biden secures the border to stop the influx of mass migration, Texas will continue this necessary program,” Abbott noted in a letter in May.
Migrants were sent to cities like Chicago, Philadelphia and New York. Migrants have also arrived in Washington, DC, with buses stopping outside the home of Vice President Kamala Harris.