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Inside Mayor Brandon Johnson’s Immigration Plan

Three weeks ago, Mayor Brandon Johnson’s transition committees released a 223-page transition report on 11 topics, offering a blueprint for his first term.

Why it matters: Johnson has called the report the “foundation for how we will lead our city well into the future.”

Reality check: Few people we know have read the whole thing and we’re guessing you may be in the same boat.

What’s happening: This week we’re breaking down five reports — immigration, public safety, transportation, arts and culture, and environment — to give you the Smart Brevity™ 411 on each.


Driving the news: The administration is facing growing tension between new migrants, politicians and community members.

The scope: More than 40 recommendations in the report aim to address challenges ranging from employment for migrants and diverse language needs in CPS to gentrification of low-income immigrant neighborhoods and access to city services for undocumented residents.

Committee members: The 21-person group includes a broad range of community leaders — led by Illinois Rep. Lilian Jiménez, SEIU Local 1 president Genie Kastrup and Andrea Ortiz-Landín of the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council.

Goal 1: Strengthen and invest in infrastructure “to be inclusive of migrant and refugee communities to make Chicago a true Welcoming City,” the report says.

Intriguing recommendations:

  • Ask state and federal agencies to allow new arrivals to work with authorization.
  • Look into opening up city employment to immigrant communities excluded by federal work rules.

Goal 2: Expand multilingual education, and integrate sanctuary policies” in CPS.

Intriguing recommendations: “Move away from transitional bilingual education” and toward programs that value and teach both English and native heritage languages.

  • Address concerns about immigration enforcement officials entering school grounds.
  • Allow excused absences for CPS students and employees who need to attend immigration appointments.

What we’re watching: Illinois hospitality leaders and some bipartisan lawmakers have urged the White House to help address labor shortages by allowing expedited work visas for new arrivals.

  • But so far, they say, they’ve had no luck.

What they’re saying: “Restaurateurs and small businesses are desperate for workers,” says Illinois Restaurant Association CEO Sam Toia, who noted recent federal data shows more than 400,000 job openings in Illinois.

  • “A significant percentage of these openings are within hospitality, an industry that provides valuable training, experience, and career paths,” Toia, who’s pushing the Biden administration to help with temporary work permits for migrants, tells Axios.
  • “People are our industry’s greatest asset, and expanding our workforce is essential to its success.”

Source: Axios