Chicago Dem Predicts City's Migrant Crisis Will Intensify Ahead of Democratic Convention

(Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)
August 22, 2023

An aide to Chicago's Democratic mayor is worried that Republican governors will bus more migrants to the city before it hosts the 2024 Democratic National Convention.

"We have to plan for the increase. They’re gonna do everything they can because this is all political, and they want to make the case that Democratic-led cities are not capable of living up to the values that we have," Cristina Pacione-Zayas, deputy chief of staff for Mayor Brandon Johnson, said Monday. The convention is slated for next August.

Pacione-Zayas said Republicans want to "topple our operation" and prove Democrats are "incompetent."

The city is already struggling to care for thousands of illegal immigrants, Fox 32 Chicago reported:

Over the last week alone, the number of new arrivals sleeping on the floors of Chicago police stations has increased 6% — to 1,100 — even though Johnson has made it a priority to "decompress" police stations. Another 170 new arrivals have taken up residence at O’Hare International Airport.

With 15 shelters housing 6,360 new arrivals, Chicago already spends upward of $20 million per month to house, feed, clothe and care for migrants. The $51 million in emergency funding approved by a divided City Council on May 31 carried the city only through June 30.

Republican governors and local leaders near the border in recent months have sent migrants by bus and plane to Democrat-run cities—including Chicago, New York City, and Sacramento.

The complaints from the mayor's office come despite Johnson advertising Chicago as a sanctuary city.

Chicago continues to struggle with violence and killings. A Democratic alderwoman asked gang members this month to limit their shootings and murders to the evening hours.

Alderwoman Maria Hadden, in an email newsletter, promoted a proposal from the community group Native Sons called "the People's Ordinance," which asks gang members to not shoot between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Crime increased by 38 percent in the month after Johnson took office in May. Robberies are up 17 percent compared with this time last year, according to police data, and are up by 30 percent in the past three years.