Statement on the Halted Development of the Proposed Brighton Park Basecamp

Public statement on teal background with loudspeaker graphic and logo of Ald. Vasquez

Dear Neighbors,

Last week, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency reviewed the environmental report released by the City that confirmed the presence of heavy metals and toxic chemicals at the location for the proposed basecamp at 38th Street and California Avenue in Brighton Park. 

Earlier this week, Governor Pritzker announced that the state is putting a stop to the development of the proposed basecamp for new arrivals, following IEPA’s review citing insufficient soil sampling and remediation.

As Chair of the Committee for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and as someone who is on record as opposing Gardaworld and the basecamp strategy, I am grateful to community organizations for raising up environmental concerns in the first place, and for Governor Pritzker’s intervention to ensure that we are putting the health and safety of people first.

The continuing wave of new arrivals presents a real challenge. I understand the difficulty of finding solutions to address the growing number of asylum-seekers who are being bussed into Chicago daily. But we must prioritize solutions that center the health, safety, and humanity of the people who will be impacted by the decisions we make.

Over the coming weeks, I will continue urging the Mayor’s Office to pursue solutions that allow us to use the resources we have—like the many empty buildings that exist in every ward throughout Chicago—to safely shelter those who have come to us seeking help. My hope and aim is that we can shift our efforts away from supporting companies like GardaWorld—which has a human rights record that I do not believe our government funds should support, and whose solutions will provide no lasting benefit to our community—and toward developing unused properties in Chicago to provide affordable housing and dignified shelter for everyone in Chicago, whether newly arrived or multi-generational residents. 

Toward that aim, I have been, and will continue actively working toward finding potential shelter spaces in the 40th Ward that will not only address this immediate crisis, but which can also provide continued benefit to our community once this crisis has passed.

These are not small challenges. But if we work together, and if we keep each other’s humanity at the forefront of our decision-making, we can not only overcome them, but build a better Chicago in the process.

Yours in Service and Community,

Signature of Andre Vasquez

Andre Vasquez