The Crusader Newspaper Group

Alderman Taylor turns thumbs down on migrants becoming cops

Photo caption: ALDERMAN JEANETTE TAYLOR (20th) refuses to support a law signed by Governor JB Pritzker that will allow non-U.S. citizens to become policemen, enabling them to arrest legal residents. “It doesn’t make sense,” she said, “especially given the many problems the city is having with housing and caring for thousands of migrants every day. “

When Governor JB Pritzker signed HB 3751 into law allowing non-U.S. citizens to become police officers, it sparked a flurry of protests, especially from Alderman Jeanette Taylor (20th).

“It’s a no for me,” Taylor said. “The folks at Wadsworth (in Woodlawn) have been kicked out of their shelter. They are standing around the shelters because they are not familiar with the city.

“Your allowing people who are not familiar with our city or our laws to become law enforcement officers just doesn’t make sense,” Taylor said. “I think once they go through the immigration process and they become citizens, then yes.”

Reminded that federal law prohibits non-citizens from carrying guns, Taylor said she doesn’t understand why the bill was passed in the first place, chalking it up to politics.

“I hope this was not the reason, but I don’t support it because you are talking about people who don’t know the United States. If we know anything about policing, it has not worked in Black and brown communities,” Taylor stated.

The alderman is so frustrated over this added burden of keeping the peace between her residents and migrants, along with fighting for resources, that she placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott who continues to send busloads of migrants to Chicago.

“Send him the bill,” Taylor said referring to the city having to pay $20 million a month, including $25 million a month between January and June. Reportedly, it is estimated that it cost $7,000 per person a month for migrant care, according to a CBS investigation.

Taylor is calling for a special City Council meeting in September on these issues, including the state of migrants who have been kicked out of their shelters but who linger outside, resulting in problems with the residents.

But to have non-citizens become policemen where they are able to arrest legal residents “just doesn’t make sense,” Taylor said. “We are just at the place where we are trying to gain the public’s trust back, and we do this? It doesn’t make sense.”

In her Ward, Taylor said there was one incident between a resident and a migrant who parked in front of the resident’s house, which ended up in a fight.

Taylor said neither the migrant nor the resident has a permit or disabled parking so “both sides are wrong.” She said the men got into an altercation where the neighbors said in a meeting that the resident pulled out a gun “over a spot that did not belong to either one of them. That is some of the hate that people are feeling.”

Asked if she is trying to keep peace between her migrant population and residents, Taylor said, “I am trying my very best. I am waiting for the city to come up with a plan for those who are kicked out” of the shelters.

Taylor said what most people don’t know is that the majority of the migrants work. “There are some people who have been kicked out of the shelter. I don’t know why. Nobody has told me why, but I sent a letter to the city asking what’s going on.”

A copy of the letter from Taylor to Mayor Johnson, obtained by the Chicago Crusader, illustrates her frustration with a system she says is not working. In her letter she wrote: “I have responded to former Mayor Lightfoot’s decision to locate migrants at Wadsworth (in the Woodlawn community) with compassion, and I have worked to ensure that the surrounding neighbors and the migrants are treated humanely.

“To date, there have been as many as 583 asylum seekers housed at the site without resources needed to adequately house that number or address the additional city services needed for the broader community.

“Many migrants at the site are working, looking for work, and abide by rules established by the shelter. However, public safety concerns have been expressed by the community and 20th Ward staff as there are approximately 75 people on the streets at night frequently,” Taylor wrote.

“There are several matters that I need to bring to your attention:

1) Mayor Lightfoot ignored my request to provide shelter for migrants in another part of the 20th Ward; in neighborhoods where organizations expressed interest in providing support.

2) Woodlawn residents, including senior citizens that reside in the CHA building next door to Wadsworth, report that many asylum seekers are on the street at night. Some of those asylum seekers have been told by DFSS and the staff that manages the shelter that they cannot return because of prior violations of the shelter rules.

3) Senior citizens showed up in mass [sic] to Monday night’s community meeting and expressed fear of leaving their homes in the evening because of public drug use and conduct (lewd gestures, etc.).

4) A physical altercation occurred this past week, which has exacerbated concerns and made families feel as if they need to take matters into their own hands to protect themselves.

5) Residents report activity that appears to be sex trafficking.

“I make it a priority to visit the site 3-4 times per week and at various times throughout the day/evening to observe what takes place and address concerns at the shelter. During my own visits, I have had to call in support too often to address the loitering of asylum seekers, clean the perimeter of the shelter and address safety concerns. Despite my team’s efforts since the asylum seekers arrived at Wadsworth in January, the situation is becoming progressively worse. This level of neglect would not be acceptable in any other neighborhood.

“I request the following support from you and the members of your team:

1) [A plan] to relocate the asylum seekers that are on the streets is implemented immediately; within the next 3 days.

2) To ensure that the 20th Ward receives additional resources for streets and sanitation needs and human resources.

3) To implement an effective policing strategy that addresses illegal drug activity and any activity that appears to be sex trafficking,” wrote Taylor.

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