CHICAGO — Around 120 people have moved into a Chicago hotel as the city works to accommodate asylum-seekers and migrants who are being sent to the city.
Women, men and children left school buses on Friday as they carried their belongings into the Chicago Lake Shore Hotel.
The Hyde Park location first served as a temporary shelter earlier in the year and is now at the center of the latest debate over how the city is addressing the worsening crisis.
“If the community doesn’t have a say in it, they’re going to have an uproar. I can’t just park in your parking spot without your permission,” South Shore Community Church Senior Pastor Tony Brown said.
Since Aug. 31, 2022, more than 13,000 migrants and asylum seekers have been sent to Chicago, in need of shelter in a city already unable to meet the needs of unhoused people.
“When I walk over to Whole Foods, all I see is homeless men, mentally ill Black men. Who is taking care of them? No one. And I’m supposed to be pleased with this? Oh no absolutely not,” Doris Lewis, a nearby resident, said.
Organizations working on the frontlines of the crisis are echoing calls by the governor and the mayor this week for the Biden administration to speed up the process of allowing asylum seekers to obtain work permits.
“Let us not lose our humanity during this time, let us work together,” Karina Ayala-Bermejo, President and CEO of Instituto del Progreso Latino, said.
As of Friday at 8 a.m., nearly 2,000 new arrivals in Chicago are waiting for housing and most of them are still sleeping on police station floors.
“All they want to do is work, reach their fullest potential,” Ayala-Bermejo said.
Instituto del Progreso Latino is coordinating donations for asylum seekers in Chicago. Visit the organization’s website InstitutoChicago.org for more information.
Buses of asylum seekers continue to arrive from Texas daily and another one is expected on Friday.