Chicago, IL

Serious Concerns Rise Over Chicago Swiftly Clearing Migrants from 5 Police Stations

Natalie Frank, Ph.D.

No information provided on where migrant families taken, if they remain in Chicago

On Wednesday, Chicago found itself under scrutiny as questions and concerns arose regarding the city's handling of the relocation of migrants from police stations. The city has evacuated individuals from inside and outside of five stations as of Wednesday afternoon, yet over 1,400 people still linger outside several other districts, sparking a wave of inquiries.

The abrupt relocation outside the Chicago 8th Police District on the South Side on Wednesday morning added to the growing uncertainty. For weeks, asylum seekers residing in tents along West 63rd Street vanished by late morning, marking a rapid transformation.

The 8th District was one of many "decompressed" by the city, an initiative aimed at moving migrants out, with most headed to temporary shelters. Additional movement occurred in Districts 1, 2, 3, and 4 on the preceding day.

Melissa Deming, a member of the volunteer group Police Station Response Team, expressed growing concerns, stating, "We are finding a lot of areas where we see gaps, and we are at a point where we are very concerned."

While the city attributes the relocation to shelters or asylum seekers resettling independently, Deming, volunteering mainly at District 7, contends that it is not the city's actions but the methodology causing issues. "Basically, they are only taking families, and we hardly have any families," she remarked, highlighting disparities in the relocation process.

Questions about the relocation prioritization prompted contact with the Office of Emergency Management and Communications. When asked about prioritization, especially concerning families, a spokesperson mentioned that the city is in the process of transitioning all individuals and families seeking asylum.

Volunteer groups criticized the city's handling of the migrant crisis, citing a series of communication fumbles and inequities in the relocation process. Despite a significant drop in arriving migrants in recent weeks, the staggering number of over 1,400 individuals awaiting placement at police districts remains a cause for concern as of Wednesday.

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