The 11th Ward IPO joins fellow organizations, such as the 25th Ward IPO and 33rd Ward Working Families, in denouncing the recent GardaWorld contract. GardaWorld has a tumultuous history that evaluates them as being untrustworthy in the care of asylum seekers. The fact that GardaWorld is one of three entities contracted by Governor Abbott to transport asylum seekers should have been enough to drop the contract bid.

We resent Governor Abbott’s actions in using our new neighbors as political pawns, causing disarray in our neighborhoods, pitting marginalized Chicagoans against each other. In contrast, residents of the 11th Ward have come together to provide mutual aid for our new neighbors and fill in the gaps of our local and federal governments. To date, the 11th Ward IPO has fundraised $3,024.00, which includes a $500 donation from the IPO pocket, to purchase meals, clothing, hygiene products, bus cards, and laundry cards for new arrivals in the 11th Ward. Most recently, funds were used to outfit newly arrived children who are enrolled in CPS with backpacks. As more asylum seekers continue to arrive in Chicago, we encourage additional donations to support our mutual aid efforts.

We are immensely grateful to our IPO members and our 11th Ward residents who have put in their time and money for this cause. We also applaud the assistance of our very own Alderwoman Nicole Lee and her staff for providing space for asylum seekers to pick up needed supplies.

We will be closely monitoring the contractual relationship between the City of Chicago and GardaWorld to ensure accountability for our new neighbors. We also call on Mayor Johnson to work with City Council, community advocates, and on-the-ground organizers to develop alternative emergency solutions that center the dignity and autonomy of Chicago’s asylum seekers. At the same time, we affirm the urgency to develop long-term, structural solutions to homelessness.

Elected officials grappling with where to house new arrivals further exposes Chicago’s long-time housing crisis, caused by decades of disinvestment in public infrastructure and human services, particularly within systematically marginalized Black and brown communities. Bring Chicago Home (BCH) would create a dedicated revenue stream to fund what we know solves homelessness: permanent housing with supportive services. This proposal is currently making its way through the City Council and we urge Alderwoman Lee to support it. We encourage 11th Ward residents to contact Alderwoman Lee asking for her vote to move BCH forward.

- 11th Ward IPO Executive Committee