World Relief Chicago helps migrant families as politicians push for more federal assistance

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Friday, May 19, 2023
Chicago group helps migrants as politicians push for federal funds
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The World Relief Organization is helping Chicago migrants as politicians push for more federal help.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Work was always busy at World Relief Chicago, but since October, the number of new clients has quadrupled.

World Relief Chicago Southern Border Assylee Project Manager Nohemi Colin is among the new employees added to help migrant families, many of which are from Venezuela.

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"It's a lot of people coming through," Colin said. "I'm first generation, and I saw the need early on. There is something everyone can do to contribute, and I knew myself, as a Spanish speaker, I can help out as well. I could provide oversight and guidance to make sure there is meaningful work being done."

Peter Zigterman is the director of Immigrant Family Services at World Relief Chicago.

"I think I view our work as somewhat of a life raft. We are just trying to help families stay afloat," Zigterman said. "This office, in the last six months, has provided case management and emergency service to over 300 families, and for some perspective, that's not meeting the need."

U.S. Rep. Delia Ramirez visited the border last month, and said she is working get cities like Chicago full reimbursement from the federal government for supporting the new arrivals, and to waive work restrictions for asylum seekers.

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"I tell you, I'm heartbroken, also more committed and a sense of urgency," Ramirez said. "In places like Chicago, it would do two things help reduce the need for shelter, coupled with filling labor shortage needs."

In the meantime, staff at World Relief and other local organizations have been urging Chicagoans to offer what they can in financial support, clothing, jobs, housing and legal aid.

You can find out more about World Relief Chicago here.