While local organizations say the arrival of migrants from Texas to Chicago has slowed, the city is still finding ways to assist the 3,667 migrants already here, including the 28 who arrived Oct. 27.
“They come from a very traumatizing experience, both at the border, to get to the border, and the bus ride to the city,” said Nubia Willman, chief engagement officer for the office of the mayor.
The infrastructure the city and state has built to receive migrants aims to ensure individuals and families are stabilized before they move on in their journey.
As soon as they arrive, migrants are helped with basic and immediate needs, such as medical attention, shelter and food provided by city, county, state and local organizations.
“Eventually folks do have questions around their legal status and how they can find work,” said Erendira Rendon, vice president of Immigrant Justice at the Resurrection Project
Rendon explained that up until this point, migrants have been given a legal orientation.
“Folks are being given their rights, as well as explaining to them how to change their address with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, how to do what’s called ICE check-ins so making sure ICE knows where you’re at,” Rendon said.
But Rendon believes there needs to be a more comprehensive screening, “having each individual sit down with an attorney and try to see what are the legal avenues.”
Without an idea on when migrant arrivals will halt, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is asking alderpeople to identify potential locations to shelter the migrants — including vacant warehouses and big box stores.
It was reported that the closed Woodlawn School would be used to house migrants, something that residents spoke out against and the city denied.
“We put out this call just to make sure that folks knew that we are looking to sort of up the next level of a larger, bigger space as all of this flow is going to continue,” Willman noted.
With new arrivals yesterday, the city released a joint statement stating: “Illinois is a welcoming state. We are committed to assisting each family and individual, providing human services with respect and dignity.”
With temperatures dropping, and a Chicago winter slowly approaching, most migrants will be experiencing one of their coldest seasons yet.