The city violated the civil rights of its residents by playing a “driving role” in the proposed relocation of a scrap metal facility with a history of pollution complaints from a mostly White neighborhood in Chicago’ North Side to a largely Black and Latino community in the Southeast Side, according to the results of a two year long federal investigation, reports NBC BLK.

In a letter obtained by NBC outlying its findings and delivered to Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) said it found that the city had a “broader policy shifting polluting activities from White neighborhoods to Black and Hispanic neighborhoods, despite the latter already experiencing a disproportionate burden of environmental harms.” 

“The tide of segregation and environmental racism in Chicago has been devastating Black and Brown communities for far too long,” advocacy groups said in a joint statement. “This federal investigation from HUD shows without a doubt that systematic racism in Chicago is creating sacrifice zones and putting the most vulnerable in harm’s way.” 

HUD is urging the city to voluntarily enter into an agreement and adopt an “enhanced fair housing planning process that includes planning for overcoming disparities and environmental impacts.” If the city declines, it may face losing hundreds of millions in federal housing funds and potential enforcement by the Department of Justice.

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