Some migrants kicked out of Chicago shelters for breaking rules as asylum-seekers continue to arrive

Some Chicago City Council members concerned about influx of migrants, want other Illinois counties to share burden

Sarah Schulte Image
Wednesday, August 16, 2023
Some migrants kicked out of Chicago shelters for breaking rules
Some Chicago migrants were kicked out of the old Super 8 Motel shelter in Rogers Park.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Two migrant families were moved on Tuesday after multiple curfew violations at the old Super 8 Motel, now a migrant shelter in Rogers Park.

The city said rules, and following them, are vital at 15 full city shelters because new arrivals come by the bus load every day.

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"We've seen, in one week, 1,000 new migrants have arrived in the city of Chicago. There is no clear articulated plan on what do to in short and long term for these individuals, as well as how are we going to pay for all of this," said 15th Ward Ald. Ray Lopez.

Eleven buses have arrived in the past week, pushing the number of migrants that have arrived in Chicago since last August to over 13,000. Close to 6,400 are being housed at city shelters and over 1,000 are waiting at police stations and O'Hare Airport.

"Many of the shelters are already at capacity. We need to start looking at new neighborhoods to find new options. With no end in sight, I don't know how much longer we can absorb these individuals," Lopez said.

In the meantime, each individual or family placed in a shelter must sign a contract and follow strict rules.

"They establish curfew. No smoking, no drug use, no alcohol on the facility, pretty much basic expectations of any of our shelters," said 42nd Ward Ald. Brendan Reilly.

While the city does not have exact numbers on how many migrants have been kicked out of shelters because of rule violations, officials said it takes more than one to be removed.

Curfew is 11 p.m. Individuals who miss it twice may be removed from the shelter, and the Department of Family and Support services will try to find them another location. In addition, migrants are are kicked out for verbal threats to other residents and staff or for acts of violence.

"To live in these facilities you sign a contract. These are very basic rules to keep everyone safe and healthy and unfortunately, some folks aren't plying by those rules," Reilly said.

Ald. Brendan Reilly and Lopez have shelters in their wards. Both said there have been very few people kicked out for violations inside the shelter. But, they worry that as asylum seekers continue to arrive, the situation inside and outside the shelters will change.

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"My population within the city continues to grow, but I haven't seen any change to procedure on how we are handling the situation," Reilly said.

It's a humanitarian crisis no one at city hall believes will slow down any time soon. Lopez said with 102 counties in Illinois, it's time for the rest of the state to share burden.