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Chicago Getting Ready to Become the Puerto Rico of the Midwest

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As the Windy City, as it is lovingly known by its long-time residents, gets ready to receive 1,600 people from Puerto Rico fleeing their ravaged island – it is making an invitation to all Puerto Ricans to make Chicago their official home.

The invitation came from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city’s most famous Puerto Rican - U.S. Congressman Luis Gutierrez. Gutierrez just returned from a humanitarian mission bringing supplies to the island devastated from Hurricane Maria. He also brought several family members including his wife’s parents back to Chicago.

The dynamic duo are laying out the red carpet for all Puerto Ricans that need to relocate due to lack of basic necessities or those that just want a fresh start away from months maybe years of an island re-build. The mayor has spoken to several organizations including Cardinal Blasé Cupich head of the Chicago Archdiocese in an effort to coordinate resources for the “refugees” upon their arrival.

Emanuel went as far as to refer to Chicago as a ‘sanctuary city’ for those fleeing Puerto Rico. Chicago considers itself a ‘sanctuary city’ for the undocumented in spite of legal battles with the current White House administration.

Gutierrez, for his part, feels Chicago’s large Latino neighborhoods are the perfect fit for the untold number of Puerto Ricans that may decide to settle in Chicago. Currently Chicago is home to nearly 100,000 Puerto Ricans many residing in the Humboldt Park community on the city’s West Side. The Democratic Congressman was born Chicago but raised in Puerto Rico before coming back to Chicago as a teenager.

According to Crain’s Chicago Business, the federal government is expected to pick up transportation costs for relocation of Puerto Ricans, who are American citizens, wishing to leave the island.

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