Oak Park’s village board took a necessary half-step Monday evening in support of its efforts to provide care for migrants who are now part of our community. It was a contentious 4-3 vote at the end of a very long meeting, and the decision represented compromise on both the dollars allocated and the length of an emergency declaration.
But the decision to spend $500,000 of the remaining pool of $1 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act was the right one. With pride and purpose, Oak Park has stepped up to support a small handful of worthy people displaced from brutality in Central and South America. The reality is this care has been crafted on the run and without a full plan for either care or funding.
As both the state and the county have this week announced new pools of funds for migrant care, it is critical that a proportionate share comes to Oak Park. Villages like ours should be encouraged to take on some portion of care but it must come with funding.
Oak Park has bought a small block of time. Now it needs to press hard for significant help to make a real plan.