Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Chicago Housing Hundreds of Migrants at O’Hare Airport, Raising Safety, Public Health Concerns; Chicago Keeping Hundreds of Migrants at Airports While Waiting on Shelters and Tents; 'Like a scene from Mad Max'

Chicago housing hundreds of migrants at O’Hare airport, raising safety, public health concerns:
Hundreds of migrants have been living in a terminal at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport — some for weeks — as the Second City struggles to keep pace with the flood of asylum seekers flowing into the city.
About 500 migrants — from babies to the elderly — have been housed behind a heavy black curtain in a shuttle-bus terminal at the busy airport as Chicago officials scramble to set up tent cities to accommodate more than 14,000 asylum seekers flown in over the past year.
The migrants sleep on cardboard pads on the floor, share public bathrooms and occasionally slip out from behind the curtain, dozing just feet from passing travelers — with a private company hired to keep tabs on them.
“It was supposed to be a stop-and-go place,” said Vianney Marzullo, a volunteer at the airport. “It’s very concerning. It is not just a safety matter but a public-health matter.”
Much like New York and other Democratic “Sanctuary Cities” that deal with migrants more leniently, Chicago has struggled to keep pace with the influx of asylum seekers, slowly moving people out of temporary spaces and into shelters and, in the near future, tents.
But the city’s use of the bustling transportation hub as a makeshift shelter is unusual, with other overburdened cities rejecting the idea as haphazard and potentially unsafe for everyone involved.
Some of the airport migrants spend weeks at the O’Hare terminal until being moved to police stations, sheriff’s offices or to a shelter when a rare slot opens up.
In the meantime, they are packed into a space smaller than a city block.
“Is it perfect? No,” said Illinois State Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, a Democrat. “But what we have done is stood in our values to ensure that we live up to operationalizing a ‘Sanctuary City.’ We will continue to work on it, but we are holding the line.” --->READ MORE HERE
Erin Hooley, Associated Press
Chicago keeping hundreds of migrants at airports while waiting on shelters and tents:
Hidden behind a heavy black curtain in one of the nation's busiest airports is Chicago's unsettling response to a growing population of asylum-seekers arriving by plane.
Hundreds of migrants, from babies to the elderly, live inside a shuttle bus center at O'Hare International Airport's Terminal 1. They sleep on cardboard pads on the floor and share airport bathrooms. A private firm monitors their movements.
Like New York and other cities, Chicago has struggled to house asylum-seekers, slowly moving people out of temporary spaces and into shelters and, in the near future, tents. But Chicago's use of airports is unusual, having been rejected elsewhere, and highlights the city's haphazard response to the crisis. The practice also has raised concerns about safety and the treatment of people fleeing violence and poverty.
"It was supposed to be a stop-and-go place," said Vianney Marzullo, one of the few volunteers at O'Hare. "It's very concerning. It is not just a safety matter, but a public health matter."
Some migrants stay at O'Hare for weeks, then are moved to police stations or manage to get into the few shelters available. Within weeks, Chicago plans to roll out winterized tents, something New York has done.
Up to 500 people have lived at O'Hare simultaneously in a space far smaller than a city block, shrouded by a curtain fastened shut with staples. Their movements are monitored by a private company whose staff control who enters and exits the curtain.
Sickness spreads quickly. The staffing company provides limited first aid and calls ambulances. A volunteer team of doctors visited once over the summer and their supplies were decimated.
Chicago offers meals, but only at specific times and many foods are unfamiliar to the new arrivals. While migrants closer to Chicago's core have access to a strong network of volunteers, food and clothing donations at O'Hare are limited, due to airport security concerns. --->READ MORE HERE

+++++Chicago's O'Hare Airport used as a migrant shelter as crisis overwhelms city: 'Like a scene from Mad Max'+++++

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