Protesters rally for better treatment of migrants at Chicago police stations

Michelle Gallardo Image
Monday, July 24, 2023
Protesters rally for better treatment of migrants at CPD stations
In immigrations news, protesters rallied Monday for better treatment of Chicago migrants by CPD and OEMC.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- There was a rally Monday made up of volunteers who help migrants housed at Chicago police stations.

They're calling on the city to do more to assist in their humanitarian efforts.

They want a better plan for housing and basic needs like meals.

As hundreds of the country's top homeland security and emergency management professionals gather at Chicago's Hyatt Regency Hotel this week, an ad hoc group of volunteers came out Monday to call out Chicago's Office of Emergency Management for failing to take care of the nearly 1,000 migrants living at police stations across the city.

"At police stations, it's neighbors. Neighbors are showing up and making sure people have something to eat and people have something to sleep on," said Halle Quezada, with the Police Station Response Team.

Protesters, representing a group that calls itself the Police Station Response Team, claim the city of Chicago through OEMC has failed to commit to providing regular meals to migrants.

"OEMC is not providing meals to these police stations at all. The people who are providing breakfast and lunch and snacks and baby formula and diapers and special diets are community volunteers," said Anna Gombert, with the Police Station Response Team.

RELATED: New migrant center opening at former American Islamic College in Buena Park, officials say

OEMC denies those claims, saying in a statement Monday that "Since July 6th, the Food Depository in collaboration with Chi-Care and OEMC has been delivering hundreds of dinners to all police district stations."

But the accusations don't end there. Protesters were calling on the city of Chicago to cancel its contract with Favorite HealthCare Staffing, a Kansas company that operates many of the migrant shelters around the city and which, they say, has already received tens of millions of dollars for providing less than adequate services, giving the simple task of doing laundry as an example.

"We've had issues at shelters where people are limited to 20 items a week in their laundry bags per family, which is not even enough items in their laundry bag for one family to wash their underwear. So then we end up having volunteers who met folks when they were at police stations picking up laundry at shelters taking it home and washing it while Favorite Staffing is charging $60/hour for the service," Quezada said.

Favorite HealthCare Staffing did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

OEMC admitted that it missed some of its food deliveries last week but resumed them as of July 20.