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HomeGeneralChicago Suburb to Oust Immigrants From Hotel and YMCA in Policy Change

Chicago Suburb to Oust Immigrants From Hotel and YMCA in Policy Change

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Migrants in a building
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Over 150 immigrants residing in two locations in Oak Park, Illinois, will have to move by the end of January. This signifies a change in approach from one of the only Chicago suburbs housing immigrants.

On Wednesday, Oak Park officials said that the approximately 160 immigrants in The Carleton of Oak Park Hotel and the West Cook YMCA would have to leave. They are to be notified of their specific date this week. 

The village’s Emergency Operations Center said immigrants must work with a case manager or village staff. The staff will help them find a new shelter or move elsewhere.

Those who can’t find shelter must go to the Chicago shelter program. This effectively sends the immigrants back to the city they came out of following a mass influx of immigrants at the southern border.

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The village is one of the only suburbs to declare an emergency to provide housing for immigrants. However, it is now changing its mind as officials say the effort has become unsustainable.

“It’s an unfortunate situation,” village Trustee Ravi Parakkat says. “We’re not leading them anywhere. It’s just housing in a temporary shelter, which doesn’t get them closer to any of the reasons they made their trek to this country. We’re spending money with no resolution in sight.”

Many other village officials know they can only do so much. The only authorities that can address the immigration issue are the city of Chicago, the state of Illinois, and the federal government. 

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The emergency funding for the housing effort was about $1 million and is to expire on February 6. However, the village never clarified where migrants would go following its expiration.

“I consider it a humanitarian crisis,” Oak Park Village President Vicki Scaman said recently. “The cold weather in Chicago makes emergency temporary housing necessary.”

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Oak Park is changing mere days after the Illinois towns of Rosemont and Cicero rejected busloads of immigrants. In Cicero, there is now a measure to fine bus companies $750 per person for letting out homeless immigrants. 

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Other suburbs, such as Schaumburg and Elk Grove Village, have also passed ordinances preventing illegal immigrants from being housed in hotels. However, the city of Chicago still accepts busloads of illegal immigrants.

Still, like Cicero, it is suing bus companies and seeking the ability to impound buses and fine owners $3,000 if they don’t abide by Chicago’s rules limiting the time and frequency of arrivals.

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In a December 7 memo, Oak Park said that buses carrying asylum-seekers would be turned away if they did not provide notice of their arrival. The buses will go to the migrant landing zone in Chicago. However, village spokesman Dan Yopchick said no such vehicles have arrived in Oak Park. 

“The village does not have the capacity to accept additional new arrivals,” he said. “Anyone who comes into Oak Park seeking shelter is redirected to the city of Chicago landing zone as set forth in the memo.”

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