CHICAGO — Another police union is calling out the City of Chicago for sending newly arrived migrants and asylum seekers to police stations for extended periods of time.
James Calvino, president of the Chicago Police Sergeants’ Association, penned an open letter to the City where he claims, “families are remaining in stations for days and, sometimes weeks at a time.”
The full letter can be read at the bottom of this article.
WGN previously reported on migrants having to camp out in the entrance of the Chicago Police Department’s 14th District police station, where Chicago Fraternal Order of Police president John Catanzara voiced his displeasure over how the migrant situation at police stations is being handled.
“Apparently the police department is now a homeless shelter and taxi service,” said Catanzara at the time. “We’ve been receiving calls for the better part of a week plus now about this issue, that’s only getting worse.”
One mother told WGN she and her two daughters had been shipped back and forth between the 8th and 14th district police stations while waiting for placement at a shelter.
Calvino’s letter aligned with Catanzara’s statements, which also said the situation has not improved and only continues to become a bigger problem at police stations across the City.
“If a Police Officer was to walk into a home with the same conditions that exists in the stations,” reads Calvino’s letter, in part. “They would be forced to call DCFS and remove any/all children, due to the poor conditions.”
At the end of April, Mayor Lori Lightfoot penned her own letter, but this one was addressed to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, stating in part, “We simply have no more shelters, spaces, or resources to accommodate an increase of individuals at this level.”
Since August 2022, Chicago has welcomed at least 8,000 migrants to the City, leading to Chicago-area shelters reaching capacity faster than in years past, and City leaders scrambling to find places where they can accommodate new arrivals.
Those decisions included relocating a Chicago Park District after school program in Avondale, moving migrants to Wadsworth Elementary School in Woodlawn, and presenting a plan to reopen the old South Shore High School and move more migrants there, all of which have faced public backlash.
Still, more migrants were expected to arrive over the weekend after City officials said they needed to identify what they call respite sites to relieve police stations, which were housing about 300 migrants, as of last Friday.
“We need to change this; let’s force the City and State to truly be welcoming,” Calvino’s letter reads, in part. “In many of the Police Department’s General Orders, there is a statement “sanctity of human life” to show how above all else we are to hold sacred each person’s life. By housing persons in Police Districts, we are doing anything but showing the sanctity of human life.”