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EXCLUSIVE: Aldermen demand inspections of facilities holding immigrant children

Aldermen Ed Burke and Danny Solis, shown on the City Council floor in 2016, are fighting for inspections at facilities holding immigrant children. | Sun-Times files

Unsafe space?

Sneed has learned two powerful Chicago aldermen dispatched a letter to City Corporation Counsel Edward N. Siskel demanding immediate steps to inspect all facilities holding immigrant children.

“We recently discovered Heartland Alliance, which has custody of these innocent children, does not have a license mandated by the city’s municipal code,” said Finance Committee Chairman Ald. Edward Burke (14th).

He and City Zoning Committee Chairman Ald. Daniel Solis (25th) want Siskel to assign the city departments of fire, buildings and health to inspect the Chicago facilities holding children separated from their parents under President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance policy.

OPINION

“It is our duty as city representatives to protect the children victimized by the federal administration,” said Solis. “I’m putting myself in the shoes of these parents and moms and dads who would expect responsible city officials to make sure these facilities are taking care of and comforting these children.”

“The reason for requiring a license is to enable city inspectors to ensure the safety of these facilities where these children have been sent by the federal government,” added Burke.

“Instead, they claim they are under the jurisdiction of the state fire marshal and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services,” he said.

“Every building in Chicago should be subject to health and safety inspections!”

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services confirmed this week it is investigating a Chicago shelter, Heartland Alliance, which housed children separated from their parents at the Mexican border.

On Tuesday, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin called for an investigation into allegations of abuse at the Chicago social-services facility Casa Guadalupe, run by the nonprofit Heartland Alliance.

Since October, federal authorities have separated roughly 3,500 children from their parents at the border as a result of the Trump administration’s recently rescinded zero-tolerance immigration policy. During a trip in late June, Durbin said 66 children were being held in Chicago, with two-thirds of them under 13, and a third of the entire group 5 or younger.

“Under the Municipal Code of Chicago, children’s services facilities are to be inspected on an annual basis to ensure compliance with all the appropriate ordinances,” said Burke. “We should not need a new city ordinance, resolution, or order to require these inspections.”

The Burke beat . . .

Yipes!

The indomitable Ald. Burke showed up at City Hall on Thursday with a shiner and scratches on his forehead, but refused to talk about what happened with other reporters.

Burke chuckled and told Sneed: “You shoulda seen the other three guys!”

Ald. Edward Burke (14th) showed up at City Hall on Thursday with a shiner and scratches on his forehead. A source tells Sneed he tripped and fell after recent eye surgery. | Fran Spielman/Sun-Times
Ald. Edward Burke (14th) showed up at City Hall on Thursday with a shiner and scratches on his forehead. A source tells Sneed he tripped and fell after recent eye surgery. | Fran Spielman/Sun-Times

Sneed is told, however, Burke, who recently had eye surgery, tripped on a sidewalk, fell and broke his glasses two days ago. No concussion, however.

Still unstoppable.

Tracking Trump . . .

First daughter Tiffany Trump has been seen on social media recently alongside a man with slicked-back blond locks.

Nope . . . it’s not one of her half brothers, Donald Jr.or Eric.

• To wit: It’s a new boy toy/rumored boyfriend 24-year-old Chris Allam, whose hairstyle resembles the Trump men’s signature sideswept and greased up dos and is an Instagram regular at lavish hot spots.

Will Allam’s Trumpisms be enough to keep him around for at least the summer?

Place your bets.

Sneedlings . . .

Today’s birthdays: Ben Simmons, 22; Sandra Oh, 47, and Ray Allen, 43.