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Refugees Might Come To Suburbs Now

The crisis at the southern border can seem like it’s long way away from the Fox Valley, but Chicago’s self-proclaimed status as a “sanctuary city” may bring that crisis home to the suburbs sooner rather than later.

Just this weekend, another 12 buses full of migrants arrived in Chicago, the largest number of buses in a single day since the beginning of the crisis. Five buses came in on Saturday and another seven arrived on Sunday, according to the city. Almost 11,000 migrants are already sheltered in Chicago, with nearly 1,600 living at Chicago police districts or sleeping in tents outside the stations, more than 8,600 in city shelters and more than 400 at Chicago O’Hare.

The city has reportedly signed a $29 million contract with Canadian security firm GardaWorld to build and operate “tent facilities” at various locations around the city, but even this is considered a temporary solution to a problem for which there is no end in sight.

Which implicates Chicago’s suburbs.

Last fall, for instance, then-Mayor Lori Lightfoot moved several dozen migrants to a hotel in Burr Ridge – without notifiying its mayor, Gary Grasso, or his administration. Grasso responded with astonishment at the time.

“I am concerned neither the village administrator nor I were told about this,” Grass told WGN. “We want to know: Why Burr Ridge?”

According to various reports, current Chicago mayor Brandon Johnson has already begun reaching out to suburban mayors in Cook and surrounding counties to explore taking in migrants currently residing in or destined for Chicago.

Keith Pekau, the Republican mayor of Orland Park, a Cook County suburb of more than 57,000 people, told conservative media outlet The Center Square that he is not on board with the idea.

“None of us have the resources for this. We do not have health departments. We do not have that kind of stuff,” Pekau said. “I think, at a high level, it is very simple. Joe Biden is putting his nose in the air to our laws and is violating our laws at the border. Brandon Johnson and his city have supported this, and he and the Cook County Board want them to be a sanctuary city, and that violates our laws as well.”

But as the flow of migrants swarming across the southern border increases monthly with little likelihood of slowing, it would seem only a matter of time before Chicago’s suburbs become enmeshed in the crisis.

“We’ve had conversations with mayors across not just Cook County but the surrounding counties, and we have had tremendous feedback,” Johnson said in August. “We see some real support on the horizon.”

Since January 2021, the number of illegal border crossings at the northern and southern borders and all ports of entry total more than eight million people.

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