Ald. Tabares and Rep. Guerrero-Cuellar Oppose Migrant Shelter in 71st and Pulaski

[0] Silvana Tabares (23rd) is expressing major concerns after being briefed on the State of Illinois’ plans to house migrants at the location at 71st and Pulaski.[1] Tabares said she believes that a plan needs to be put in place that ensures the safety of both the local community and the people who will be housed at the location.[2]

The Illinois Department of Human Services is planning to move 658 migrants to the former Kmart at 7050 S. Pulaski Road for temporary shelter.[1] This comes after the City of Chicago received backlash from residents when it opened former James Wadsworth Elementary School, near Chicago's Woodlawn neighborhood, as a temporary migrant shelter.[3]

State Representative Angelica Guerrero-Cuellar has also expressed her concerns, writing a letter to IDHS Secretary Grace Hou that reads:[4]

It is regrettable that I do not think the proposed migrant shelter at 71st Street and Pulaski Road is prepared to securely accommodate 658 migrants.[4] It is still uncertain if the facility is ready to provide a secure environment for such a large number of people. It is essential that we suspend the inauguration of the suggested site while we attempt to settle these matters.[0]

[0] Jeanette Taylor (20th) has been critical of the city's handling of the building, saying it doesn't make sense to house the migrants in Woodlawn, and that other parts of her ward would be a better choice.[2] Taylor said in October, “They would be in a Black part of the ward where nobody speaks Spanish. Nobody could help them.[2][0]

As of February 14, 2023, the Mayor’s Office and Department of Family & Support Services have yet to respond to requests for comment.[5] The protesters are demanding that the state pause the project until they can ensure that the facility is constructed into adequate housing for young migrant families.[6] As Smith said, “We don’t know anything about the people except they’ve fled danger in their countries.[7]

0. “State plans to open migrant shelter in vacant Kmart building in West Lawn” kuna noticias y kuna radio, 14 Feb. 2023,

1. “Officials Pause Plan To Move Hundreds Of Migrants Into Vacant KMart On Southwest Side” Block Club Chicago, 13 Feb. 2023,

2. “State plans to open migrant shelter in vacant Kmart building in West Lawn” KAKE, 14 Feb. 2023,

3. “Immigration news: State plans to turn shuttered Pulaski Road Kmart in West Lawn into shelter for Chicago migrants” WLS-TV, 13 Feb. 2023,

4. “Chicago Finds a New Location to House Migrants in this Abandoned Store | Tom Handy” NewsBreak Original, 11 Feb. 2023,

5. “Chicago pushes to house migrants in old Kmart building despite protests from residents over migrant shelters” Fox News, 14 Feb. 2023,

6. “State plans to turn shuttered Southwest Side Kmart store into a shelter for migrants” FOX 32 Chicago, 13 Feb. 2023,

7. “Controversy still swirling over decision to house migrants in former Woodlawn school” FOX 32 Chicago, 10 Feb. 2023,