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Poll shows Chicagoans disapprove of migrant tent plans | Illinois


(The Center Square) – Illinois Policy Institute’s Dylan Sharkey doesn’t appear surprised by the results of a recent poll showing that Chicago voters are opposed to Mayor Brandon Johnson’s tent city plan by a more than 2-to-1 margin. 

“We’ve seen reaction from residents in the city, for example Brighton Park was selected for one of the sites for tents and it faced blowback from residents, some protested showing how polarizing the issue is,” Sharkey told The Center Square. “On top of protests, there’s also been a lawsuit filed to halt construction. More money from the city for the solution can help in the short term, but it’s not a permanent plan.”

With the Lincoln Poll survey of 800 voters conducted over a five-day period in late October, researchers found that 63% of residents are at least somewhat against the plan, 46% of them strongly, compared to just 28% who support it and 9% who are unsure.

Among different ethnic groups, Hispanic residents were most strongly opposed to the plan at 53%.

“Mayor Johnson’s current plan for migrants is worrying voters because winter weather is approaching and you have people living outside when the city hasn’t proposed a permanent plan,” Sharkey said. “Instead, the city keeps asking the federal government for more money. Chicago’s newest budget earmarks $150 million for migrant care, but many think it will end up costing more than that. One estimate has the city currently spending $40 million in one month.”

Over the past 15 months, more than 24,000 arrivals have landed in Illinois, creating a crisis that also recently moved Gov. J.B. Pritzker to announce that the state has earmarked an additional $160 million through the Illinois Department of Human Services to deal with the problem.

With voters expressing a host of reasons for feeling how they do, Sharkey isn’t sure if any of the funding will be enough to calm all the rising emotions.

“It’s a multi-faceted issue, and certainly a lot of factors go into why people feel the way they do,” he said. “One thing the mayor can do right now is listen to people in the community, their concerns and what they’re thinking. There are some that have suggested other ideas … The city could actively work with community leaders on possible solutions besides temporary tents.”

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Caleb Alexander

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