(The Center Square) – Some say there needs to be more transparency regarding how Chicago will continue to pay for non-citizen arrivals coming to the Windy City.
The city projects a budget gap of $538 million for the coming fiscal year. According to NBC Chicago, $200 million of the gap comes from care for nearly 14,000 non-citizen arrivals. The city also projects another $250 million to cover costs till the end of the year.
Paul Vallas, who finished second in a runoff election to Mayor Brandon Johnson in April, told The Center Square that there has been no transparency regarding taxpayer funds that have gone to non-citizen care.
“There has been a complete lack of transparency. There really has been no accountability,” Vallas said. “Alderman Ray Lopez has pointed out just the lack of documentation. They don’t know how the money is being spent.”
So far, Chicago and Illinois taxpayers have set aside $94 million for migrant housing. The state budget has $550 million in taxpayer subsidies for the health care of migrants over 65.
Taxpayers have also paid another $56 million to Favorite Healthcare Staffing, a Kansas-based company tasked with taking care of the non-citizens. Some of their employees were being paid up to $195 per hour, according to NBC Chicago.
Vallas claims the oversight on these expenditures needs to be increased.
“There has really been no accountability on who is getting that money, how much they are spending, or for that matter, the effectiveness of those expenses,” Vallas said.
Last month, Johnson said he would not be able to keep taking care of the migrants without significant help from the federal government.
“Let me state this clearly: the city of Chicago can not go on welcoming new arrivals safely and capably without significant support and immigration policy changes,” Johnson said.
Vallas said policymakers need to address immigration policies if they wish to fix this problem.
“Just because the mayor does not mind that this is being done does not mean the taxpayers should bear the brunt. There needs to be some regulation of interstate commerce,” Vallas said. “This is the trafficking of people, so the federal government’s got to secure the borders and protect the borders to slow this infusion.”
When asked about the budget last week, Johnson said he would focus on developing a budget plan that works for the residents of Chicago.
“My administration is fully committed to transparency, inclusivity and effective co-governance,” Johnson said. “We will work tirelessly to ensure that our budgetary decisions reflect our commitment to the betterment of Chicago and the livelihoods of its residents, and provide support around my priorities in the areas of public safety, the environment, youth and mental health.”