Chicago braces for more migrants as Title 42 border policy officially expires

ByDiane Pathieu and Stephanie Wade WLS logo
Friday, May 12, 2023
Chicago braces for more migrants as Title 42 expires
Chicago braces for more migrants Friday as the Title 42 border policy officially expires.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Title 42, the COVID-19 restriction that blocked many migrants at the border with Mexico, has officially expired.

Now, new border policies will play out in the coming days as border patrol agents try to address an influx of migrants.

As asylum seekers race to the U.S. border, that could mean more migrants coming to Chicago. The issue is, Mayor Lori Lightfoot says we are out of space.

Title 42 allowed border officials to return migrants back over the border to prevent the spread of COVID.

Many migrants gathered along the U.S.-Mexico border are worried about their chances of claiming asylum in the United States now that Title 42 immigration restrictions have been lif

According to ABC News, a new system will aim to get the asylum-seekers to start using an online system to book appointments.

Pilsen building owner steps up when CPD station runs out of room for migrants in Chicago

In Chicago, about 75 migrants are being housed at a makeshift emergency shelter in Pilsen that opened Tuesday night. It's a drop in the bucket, really, to the thousands who have arrived in the city over the last year.

One of the migrants at the shelter, who came with his wife and two children, told ABC7 about how difficult the decision was to come here and how grateful they are that they made it.

Jesus Alvarez said it was difficult traveling to the U.S. from Venezuela. The journey was dangerous, and there was much suffering.

He has five degrees and 16 years of experience as a police officer, he said, but he wasn't making enough money to provide for his family.

"I just saw my mother in these people," said Juan Aguirre, executive director at the National Equity Institute. "My mom came from Guatemala, escaping political violence."

Aguirre is helping to feed and clothe dozens of families in the temporary shelter built in a warehouse.

"Just seeing the amount of trauma that these people have experienced is overwhelming for me, but knowing that we are giving them a sense of hope and love, and a sense of community is really fulfilling," he said.

Thursday night, 70 more migrants were dropped off at the 2nd Police District in Bronzeville without warning.

"I estimate there's over 9000 asylum-seekers who have come to our great city. Currently we have about 28-2900 beds, shelter beds, and demand well over that. In police stations, we have over 500 individuals as we stand now," said 22nd Ward Alderman Michael Rodriguez.

Ald. Rodriguez said starting Saturday, Piotrowski Park in Little Village will also serve as a temporary respite center.

"A place that's a bit more humane for those coming to this country than a police station," he said.

When asked what he wants to say to Chicagoans, Alvarez became emotional as described wanting to contribute to American society and achieve his goals and dreams, like any other human being.

South Shore residents are opposing bringing migrants into the shuttered South Shore High School and they have taken legal action, filing a motion for an emergency temporary restraining order.

"While we have empathy for the humanitarian crisis, our priority is a humanitarian crisis that we have suffered from for generations and we do not have the capacity to bear this burden of migrants," Natasha Dunn said.

Chicago has taken in 8,000 migrants since August, and more than 200 a day have flooded into the city crowding police stations and other public spaces.

The city has officially declared a state of emergency.