Evanston city officials are in discussions with the City of Chicago about what Evanston could do to help address Chicago’s migrant crisis.

In response to an inquiry from Evanston Now, city spokesperson Jessica Mayo says, “We are very eager to help and have been studying many options but do not have a specific plan in place at this time.”

In 2016 Evanston aldermen unanimously adopted a so-called sanctuary city ordinance, pledging to welcome illegal immigrants and not cooperate with federal government efforts to deport them.

But last month the Daily Northwestern published claims by a migrant family from Bogota, Columbia that they had found a lack of resources in Evanston and that “the few city-sponsored resources were both unhelpful and poorly advertised.”

Chicago, now struggling to aid thousands of migrants, many bused to the city by border-state officials, has a sanctuary city ordinance similar to Evanston’s.

But as Block Club Chicago reported today, two aldermen there, Anthony Napolitano and Anthony Beale, are seeking to put a referendum on the March 2024 primary ballot asking voters whether to revoke the sanctuary city designation.

Napolitano, who has long opposed the sanctuary city policy, says residents will suffer if taxes increase to pay for migrant-related resources.

A year ago City Manager Luke Stowe said Evanston was talking with state officials about housing some refugees in local hotels, but that with hotels booked with Northwestern football games and other events the two- to three-month stays migrants would need couldn’t be accommodated at that time.

Related:As migrants clash near high-volume shelters, neighbors and businesses grow alarmed: ‘We don’t feel safe’ — Chicago Tribune, 9/26/23.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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