Government Officials and Local Organizations Strive to Respond to Hundreds of Arriving Migrants | Latin Voice | Chicago News


The battle over the border intensifies between the political parties.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott continues to bus hundreds of migrants to so-called sanctuary cities across the country. That includes Chicago, which has taken in more than 500 asylum seekers since Aug. 31. Another bus arrived Thursday night at Union Station.

Governor JB Pritzker has signed a disaster declaration and is deploying 75 members of the Illinois National Guard to help these people.

City and state officials rushed to find emergency housing for arriving migrants, and the state sent some people to nearby suburbs.

On Thursday, Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso criticized Chicago and Illinois officials for failing to notify the village of the arrival of the migrants. But he also added that his office was actively working with businesses and the school district to help the 64 people staying at a local hotel.

“We provide them with daily amenities. We have police protection here of course, there are a lot of people in the village who have stepped up to donate food, clothes, job offers,” Grasso said. “The school board has been looking for educational opportunities, if any of them are to stay in the area at the end.”

Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is calling out Abbott for his decision to send migrants without notice, saying it adds to the challenges for refugees.

For those who arrive, it is a long process to apply for asylum, a work visa and other documents. Not to mention that they will all have to appear at the immigration court hearings.

Organizations in the region have also come together to help as quickly as possible.

Jose Ventura, director of legal services at Centro Romero, says at this point organizations and coalitions are trying to deal on a case-by-case basis, but it’s overwhelming.

“The main focus is trying to see how they qualify and if they get any kind of benefits to get work authorization,” Ventura said. “Most of them don’t, but some do and just having the work permit is a lot because then you get social security. [number] as well and it allows you to move in society.

Ventura says Centro Romero typically assists 80 to 90 people with legal services. Now they see that number jump to over 200 people. He says it will take years to fully serve all newly arrived migrants.

“Some of them have been released on parole, which means they have a certain amount of time to be here legally,” Romero said. “Some of them haven’t received anything, some have been put through deportation procedures and summons issues sometimes at three months and sometimes at two years. So it’s all over the place.”

Ventura also says this is the first time his organization has seen hundreds of people seek asylum in Venezuela, a country plagued by political unrest.


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