Chicago residents fight back as city builds new housing for illegal immigrants

"Nobody was really told this was going to happen, they basically said, 'we’re going to do this, shut up,' " community member Michael Patlan said.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

Chicago residents are protesting against a government-run tent encampment for illegal immigrants being set up in the Brighton Park neighborhood.

According to Reuters, protestors have been gathering daily near the construction site of one of two new shelters being built in Brighton Park. The shelters are expected to open as soon as mid-December. They cost the state of Illinois, which funded the project, $65 million to build and will house up to 2,200 illegal immigrants.

Residents of Brighton Park are suing the city in an attempt to halt construction, stating that the encampment violates Chicago zoning laws.

"These people are just getting off the bus and everything's given to them," said one of the protestors, longtime resident Ricardo Palacios. "As a taxpayer, I don't think that's right."

"Nobody was really told this was going to happen, they basically said, ‘we’re going to do this, shut up,’" community member Michael Patlan told Fox 32.

Illegal immigrants at the encampment will have an 11 pm curfew, but residents of the neighborhood fear this will be tough to enforce, and are worried about a potential uptick in crime, as well as overcrowded schools.

"I can handle myself, I worry more about the children in the neighborhood," said Patlan.

Residents also believe the site, at 38th Street and California Avenue, which was once an industrial site, has contaminated soil. They say that previous attempts to utilize the land have failed because of this issue.

"You got the railroad tracks right behind, when it rains the water comes in," said Palacios. "So guess what’s going to end up happening? Sooner or later, people are going to end up getting sick, they’re going to sue the City of Chicago, us as taxpayers, we’re going to end up paying double."

The city is paying around $92,000 per month to lease the lot, and additionally have signed a $29 million contract with Canadian company GardaWorld to build camps for illegal immigrants across the city.

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