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The City of Chicago will be returning five parks to the public after using them as temporary shelters for illegal immigrants, a move that had caused controversy among residents. Mayor Brandon Johnson’s office announced that starting this Saturday, they will be decompressing the temporary shelters from five park district facilities. Once all immigrants are transitioned to other shelters, the parks will be restored for public use. Immigrants from Gage Park, Broadway Armory Park, Brands Park, Leone Park, and Piotrowski Park will be moved to nearby shelters in order to minimize disruptions with schooling and work.

Mayor Johnson expressed pride in his administration’s efforts and the support of Chicagoans who provided shelter to new arrivals when it was needed. He thanked alderpersons and communities for embracing new neighbors and expressed satisfaction that the park facilities will be transitioning back to their intended purpose in time for summer programming. This announcement came shortly after the mayor emphasized that Chicago has been open and accommodating to illegal immigrants, but he also acknowledged that the current situation was unsustainable without federal intervention.

The mayor blamed Texas Governor Greg Abbott for bussing migrants to the sanctuary city, accusing him of attacking cities run by Black leaders by sending waves of migrants. Abbott has been busing illegal immigrants to progressive-run cities for nearly two years to draw attention to the crisis at the southern border. The move to return the parks to the public comes as a relief to residents who had been critical of the use of public spaces as temporary shelters for illegal immigrants. The transition back to normal park use is expected to be completed over the coming weeks.

Despite Mayor Johnson’s earlier claims about being open and accommodating to illegal immigrants, he acknowledged the strain on resources and the need for federal assistance to address the situation. The controversy surrounding the use of parks as shelters highlighted the challenges faced by cities like Chicago in dealing with the influx of migrants. By returning the parks to the public, the city aims to address the concerns of residents while continuing to provide support and shelter to those in need. The mayor’s office emphasized the importance of community support in welcoming new arrivals and expressed gratitude to all those who had stepped up to help.

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