• Michael McDevitt
    DEC 19, 2023

    News in brief: Migrants largely cleared from police stations; New reentry center for formerly incarcerated announced in North Lawndale


    The city was not able to fully celebrate a milestone of moving thousands of migrants out of police district stations Monday, as just under two dozen new arrivals had been recorded as staying in stations. Meanwhile, the mayor and city’s Family and Support Services department announced the opening of the city’s latest center for individuals leaving prison.

    MIGRANTS AT POLICE STATIONS — Though the city had only recently celebrated the clearing and retirement of police district stations as temporary “staging areas” for migrants that had arrived in Chicago but who didn’t yet have spots in city shelters, public data on Monday showed the number of those staying at police stations had begun to tick back up again. Twenty migrants were recorded as staying in police stations citywide on Monday, along with 220 staying at O’Hare International Airport and one at Midway Airport. The city’s airports have also served as staging areas. The city said an estimated 4,000 migrant arrivals who had been staying at police stations had been moved to temporary shelters as of Dec. 14, but the buses bringing migrants continue to arrive from Texas despite new penalties imposed last week by the City Council on buses that do not provide advance notice or use designated landing zones. “From the very beginning, the buses coming from Texas have not centered people’s humanity,” Mayor Brandon Johnson said at a news conference Monday. “The city of Chicago is providing some structure and parameters around this mission … It’s disheartening that the governor of Texas is literally invoking chaos without having a real clear willingness to coordinate.” Though the numbers had risen, Johnson said the decrease from 4,000 living on police station floors “a month ago” is an improvement. Almost 26,000 asylum seekers have arrived in Chicago since 2022, and nearly 14,000 are staying in 27 temporary city shelters. 

    REENTRY CENTER — The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) and Johnson visited the West Side to announce the opening of the city’s fifth Community Reentry Support Center on Monday. The centers provide supportive services for residents released from incarceration so they can best reintegrate into society and to reduce recidivism. The new center is located in North Lawndale and will be operated by the Safer Foundation, according to a news release. The reentry center will serve residents returning to Chicago’s West Side, the city said. “As part of our comprehensive community safety plan, reducing recidivism rates is a significant move towards creating an alternative vision of community safety while disrupting the cycle of incarceration,” the mayor said in a statement. “Providing pathways to returning residents is a critical step in supporting that plan, and supporting those who have progressed through the system and are facing enormous hurdles as they return to their communities.” Services offered at the centers include job training, counseling, education and social support networks, according to the city. “By fostering connections and partnerships between returning residents, community members, and service providers, the center will work towards breaking down barriers to ensure successful reentry and promote healing to help individuals chart the next phase of their lives,” said DFSS Comm. Brandie Knazze. “Our goal is to make sure individuals have the tools and resources they need to thrive.”

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