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Good news on migrant influx/sheltering/resettlements, but some dark clouds are on the horizon

Wednesday, Mar 6, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* CBS 2 story on February 26th

Another migrant shelter in Chicago closes its doors.

CBS 2 has learned the Near South Health Center at 35th and Michigan is no longer housing new arrivals.

It’s the fifth shelter to close down this month.

There are still more than 12,000 migrants in 23 shelters across the city.

The number living in those remaining shelters is down to 11,795 as of yesterday afternoon. That’s far lower than the almost 15,000 shelter residents in late December, and about what the population was on October 23rd. However, back in October, 6,224 migrants were awaiting placements in shelters. That backlog was just 20 people yesterday.

* But this is what Sen. Robert Peters (D-Chicago) told 21st Show host Brian Mackey about the situation

It has slowed down a bit. I would not be surprised if it doesn’t ramp up - the busing of people from Texas to here - as we get closer to the DNC.

The influx has definitely slowed down. According to city data, just 1,051 migrants have arrived in Chicago via Texas bus and by airplane since February 9th. For comparison, 6,643 folks arrived between January 3rd and February 9th.

And Sen. Peters is not the only one who wouldn’t be surprised if the pace increases as the Democratic convention nears. But will the city be caught off guard? What happens if the Texas floodgates re-open and Chicago has shut down even more shelters?

I suppose we’ll find out.

* As of Feb. 28th, 13,798 migrants had been resettled. That number has climbed to 14,165 as of yesterday. The city says the total number of migrants reunited with sponsors is now 5,043, up from 4,893 on Feb. 28.

The resettlement/reunited pace appears to be significantly slowing down. From Feb. 20-28, 1,320 were resettled. Since Feb. 28, just 367 have been resettled. And that’s relevant because evictions are supposed to begin next week

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson said the city has not yet decided whether it stick with next week’s deadline to begin migrant shelter evictions. […]

If the date is not moved again, migrant evictions would begin next Saturday, March 16.

Right now, there are nearly 12,000 asylum-seekers staying in 23 shelters run by Chicago and the state.

A whole lot of those asylum-seekers are children. Families should have been exempted from the start, perhaps with some limitations. But another mess could play out in front of our eyes.

* More from Isabel…

    * Tribune | Migrants report shelter staff limits hygiene products and say they fear retaliation for speaking out: The reports of rationing hygiene products come after the Tribune last week reported that a shortage of essential supplies in the city’s shelters forced some parents to reuse dirty diapers on their babies. On Sunday, volunteers distributing boxes of diapers at a city shelter on the Lower West Side said migrants told them they were being retaliated against because they are accepting donated supplies amid the shortages. “There’s concern that when they talk to us or they take our supplies, they get in trouble,” said Southwest Collective founder Jaime Groth Searle.

    * Axios | Most migrants living in Chicago shelters aren’t eligible to work: “Maybe 10% of those in shelters are eligible for work authorization, and, in the best case scenario, maybe half are eligible for rental assistance,” Ald. Andre Vasquez (40th), who chairs the City Council’s Immigration and Refugee Rights committee, tells Axios. “I’m concerned that, by the end of April, this will lead to about 5,000 to 6,000 people out on the street and without the ability to work.”

    * Tribune | North Shore residents providing care packages to displaced migrants: “The ‘Shop and Drop’ program started during COVID,” said Swanson. “Everyone thought maybe three weeks or a month and it would be over. Here we are four years later working through the same needs. Thankfully the infrastructure of distribution to those in need was in place.” […] The packages include water, non-perishable food items, personal hygiene products, first aid kits, winter clothing, baby items and children’s comfort items such as books/games/stuffed animals and a note of welcome and encouragement in Spanish is attached to each package.

    * Maine Public | When work permits arrive, asylum seekers in Maine face varying paths toward economic independence: A recent study from Massachusetts, which is also experiencing a sharp increase in asylum seeker arrivals, found that new immigrants in that state can expect to make roughly $24,000 per year when the first start working, and that earnings tend to increase steadily.

    * KUOW | Facing another hotel eviction, Seattle area asylum-seekers lean on religious groups to foot the bill: Councilmember Sarah Perry called on the Muslim Association of Puget Sound, which she said previously helped support refugees from Afghanistan, for help. The association will provide $60,000 for hotels for the next two weeks. […] Leadership at Plymouth United Church of Christ in Seattle said they would help with funding at the other end of that window, as asylum-seekers wait for county funding to kick in.

    * Tucson kVOA | Federal funding to assist with asylum seekers expires in less than 30 days: At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, the council discussed a plan inspired by what El Paso and San Diego are doing to manage street releases. […] The city also discussed working with the Department of Homeland Security to set up a controlled release spot instead of using the Greyhound bus station. They’re also considering busing migrants to Phoenix since they can provide more help.

    * Sun-Times | Feds pin Chicago shooting on migrant with alleged cartel ties — but there’s no record of charges: But court records show that no charges have been filed in the Feb. 4 attack, and a CPD spokesperson said a suspect was released from custody without being charged. After the Sun-Times asked a marshals spokesperson about the case, a news release posted Monday to the federal agency’s website was taken offline. The spokesperson didn’t respond to a subsequent request for comment.


1 Comment
  1. - One Term - Wednesday, Mar 6, 24 @ 1:22 pm:

    The mayor needs to move that date or find another plan. Evicting migrants would set the city back to 6 months ago and is an ugly sight with the DNC right around the corner. It also fails to meet the values the mayor and his coalition ran on.

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