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HomeGeneralChicago Enforces Controversial Policy, Evicts Migrants From Shelters

Chicago Enforces Controversial Policy, Evicts Migrants From Shelters

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Despite calls from advocates, Chicago has begun evicting some migrants from its shelters. The controversial policy has faced opposition and criticism from advocates. Hence, the sanctuary city delayed the policy for months. However, according to a migrant, Chicago is now enforcing it.

A picture of migrants
Source: Pinterest

As a result, evicted migrants and those facing a rapidly approaching deadline said there had been widespread confusion about the process. Also, many condemned the forceful eviction without the resources to find places to stay.

The city says it has evicted less than ten migrants in the first two days of enforcement. A city spokesperson revealed that they forced five migrants to leave on Monday, March 18, 2024, due to the policy. Also, before those, the city evicted three on Sunday. 

Franklin Romero, a 29-year-old Venezuelan migrant, spoke to media outlets about the policy, calling it unstable. Romero revealed that someone at the Woodlawn shelter had told him about his eviction just one day prior. He said the person told him he had to leave by 2 p.m. the next day.

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“It was unbelievable. We have no stability,” said Romero after the city forced him out on a day with freezing temperatures. While narrating his ordeal, Romero said he tried to explain that he had to work the next day. He also told the person that he could not leave the shelter before 2 p.m. with all his belongings. 

However, the Venezuelan migrant said another person told him he must leave by 12:30 p.m. He felt disrespected by the order to leave the place he had called home for months immediately. “It was clear that I needed to leave, and I respected that. But the treatment was a lack of respect,” Romero said.

While discussing the policy, the city said 11,253 migrants were in 23 city-and-state-run shelters. Furthermore, the city said it had received about 37,308 new arrivals since 2022 when Texas Gov. Greg Abbot began sending people to cities nationwide.

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Consequently, the city-run shelters are overwhelmed with migrants. As a result, the city has sought to limit shelter stays to 60 days for the more than 10,000 migrants. Chicago now requires them to find housing or apply for another shelter at the city’s “landing zone” for new arrivals after their exit date arrives. 

The evictions also come amid a measles outbreak at one of the shelters. However, the city has given thousands of migrants, including families with children, extensions. On Friday, March 15, 2024, the city said it would evict dozens of people from their shelters on Sunday.

However, by the evening, the city said 31 migrants received extensions due to the exemptions. These exemptions include enrollment in public benefits, pregnancy or infant care, medical care, medical isolation and quarantine, and having families with children under 18.

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City officials also said 2,026 people would be evicted from their current shelters by the end of April. Notably, the city postponed enforcement three times due to extreme winter weather and backlash from advocates and some elected officials. 

Following the first sets of evictions, the city council’s Progressive Reform Caucus released a statement opposing the policy. Maria Perez, a volunteer and member of the Southwest Collective, also criticized the policy. She said the extensions do not solve the bigger problem of a lack of resources for the migrants.

“Thirty more days is not enough time,” Perez said outside a shelter with migrants facing eviction. “They need the tools to set them up in order for them to succeed in this community.” She added, “This is not the solution.”

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