CHICAGO — City, public safety and educational officials gathered at Wilbur Wright College Tuesday evening to discuss the City’s plans to move hundreds of asylum seekers to the institution over the summer.
The meeting was at capacity, with more than 500 people estimated to be in attendance inside the college’s gym, and City leaders explained asylum seekers will be coming to Chicago as early as Saturday.
“I will level with you, there is a bus on the way from Laredo, Texas right now that is going to arrive in Chicago tomorrow afternoon,” said Matt Doughtie, emergency coordinator for the OEMC. “As it stands right now, we don’t know exactly where we’re putting these people. That’s why it’s so critical today to help expand capacity across the system.”
Chicago police officials at the meeting said more than 800 asylum seekers have been staying at police stations, necessitating the need for more facilities being available to house them so officers can perform the jobs they are employed to do.
“Opening a location like this will help alleviate our migrants from staying in our stations and that will assist with helping ensure we provide the police service throughout our communities that everyone here expects,” said CPD Deputy Chief Stephen Chung at the meeting. “And also provides the level of care that our migrants are needing.”
OEMC representatives said the facility at Wilbur Wright College will mainly be for families, and there will be rules. All guests will be required to sign in and out, with a 11 p.m. curfew put in place, and no drugs or alcohol will be allowed on the property.
City officials said the plan is to house up to 400 asylum seekers until Aug. 1. By then — according to the City — they plan to have everyone out.
Chicago residents, both for and against the plan, voiced their opinions at the meeting Tuesday.
“It seems this whole thing was dumped on us,” said one resident. “We pay taxes in this district and we should have been told what’s going on and why.”
“I just want to say thank you for all you are doing for these people,” said another resident. “They came here with nothing on their backs, due to U.S. policy that caused all of this.”