CHICAGO — As the city grapples with the ongoing migrant crisis, there are now more than 3,000 asylum seekers waiting for shelter in Chicago police stations across and hundreds at O’Hare airport.
Since May, the number of migrants arriving in Chicago has picked up drastically, prompting city and state leaders to continue demanding more money and resources from the federal government.
City leaders say they are now opening up a new shelter for asylum seekers every six days.
In spite of a funding gap in the hundreds of millions the number of new arrivals is picking up rapidly.
“Just in the last week alone we welcomed 63 buses and so even though we are working every single day to open up these shelters we just can’t get in front of it,” Cristina Pacione-Zayas, Deputy Chief of Staff, said.
As of Thursday, more than 10,800 new arrivals are living in 25 shelters in neighborhoods throughout the city. More than 3,700 people are living inside and outside of police stations and at O’Hare waiting for city shelter space to open up.
“We are providing services and dollars on top of what cities do and the city of Chicago as you may know,” Gov. JB Pritzker said. “We spent more than $300 million, $330 million already to support the asylum seeker shelters.”
More than 18,000 migrants have arrived in Chicago since last august.
The majority of those asylum seekers, close to 11,000 of them made it to the city starting in may.
“We do not control the number of buses we don’t control the frequency of how they come and we don’t control what the federal government does and does not do even though this is precisely under their jurisdiction,” Pacione-Zayas said.
On Thursday, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth led members of the Illinois Democratic Congressional Delegation in sending a letter to President Biden stating:
“State and local officials have worked tirelessly to serve these new arrivals, and the federal government must swiftly provide assistance and resources that reflect this administration’s commitment to safe, orderly, and humane immigration processes.”U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth letter to President Biden
“This is a national crisis that is going to call for a national response we need the White House to step up and do more on this issue and we join the governor in his call for the White House to do more,” Illinois Speaker of the House Rep. Emmanuel “Chris” Welch said.