More than 10,000 asylum seekers have arrived in Chicago since the first bus dispatched by Texas Governor Greg Abbott arrived in the city in late August 2022, city officials said.
The influx continues as volunteers and elected officials strive to provide arriving migrants with temporary shelter and other needed resources.
A city spokesperson said 1,019 immigrants arrived in Chicago in the past nine months, and 4,151 immigrants are now living in temporary shelters in the city.
Of the more than 10,000 immigrants who have arrived since August last year, 5,573 arrived by bus and 4,446 arrived in Chicago by other means.
The city’s response to arriving immigrants has become a political hotspot, with a tense meeting at Dunning’s Wilbur Wright College showing that the community is divided on how it wants to respond.
In other parts of the city, local authorities and residents are trying to integrate recent arrivals into the community.
Many of the elementary school children who recently arrived in Chicago from Latin America and are staying in the Little Village temporary shelter will not have much reprieve from breaking books.
With summer just around the corner for CPS students in a few weeks, dozens of immigrant children staying at a temporary shelter in Little Village reunited with an elementary school near their hometown of Aldo earlier this week. Mike Rodriguez (No. 22) said.
“It’s been two weeks, even if it’s only two weeks,” he told The Sun-Times last week at an event near his school. “Children should go to school.”
The school is located near 27th Street and Kostner Street, about half a mile from where local aldermen set up a temporary refuge for immigrants in Piotrowski Park earlier this month.
Rodriguez said he wasn’t sure exactly how many students would be enrolled, but about 40 to 50 children of the 200 immigrants will be in elementary school, and up to 12 high school students will soon be in Little Village. Presumed likely to enroll in Lawndale High School.
“Despite the fact that this is a crisis, a man-made crisis, caused by the xenophobic and racist policies of Southern governors, we are determined to bring this to our community with renewed energy. We should also see it as an opportunity to bring a revitalized immigrant spirit,” he said.
“This reinforces who we are. We are welcoming, we are immigrants, and those who come in become part of our society. They are taxpayers.” , renters, and eventually homeowners, who fill our classrooms and do essential jobs, they are who we are.”
The welcome they received contrasted with the backlash immigrants face in parts of the city.
“As an immigrant community, we are naturally blessed with resources and neighboring countries that are very welcoming to immigrants,” he said.
Rodriguez said the district benefits immigrants a lot, but their arrival could bode well for the district’s future.
“Like Mexican immigrants decades ago, or Eastern European and Polish immigrants a generation ago, I hope they remain and become part of our community,” the alderman said.
CPS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.