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As Chicago sees record number of migrant buses, arrivals work to adapt

  • The city has received 27 buses since last week
  • Migrants are staying at police departments and the city’s two airports
  • The city plans to build winterized tent cities to house the migrants

CHICAGO (NewsNation) — A record number of migrant buses arrived in Chicago this week, sometimes without warning.

The city has received 27 busses since Saturday, the Chicago Tribune reports, with each bus typically carrying about 50 people. Seven buses arrived Wednesday.

New data shows since the end of August 2022, more than 15,000 migrants have arrived in the city. As of Monday, 8,936 migrants remained in city shelters, while another 2,011 migrants awaited placement.

Those awaiting placement include 1,635 migrants at Chicago Police Department Districts, 360 at O’Hare International Airport, and another 16 migrants at Midway International Airport.

One family told NewsNation that they left dire economic and political hardship in Venezuela.

Javier, who declined to give his last name, citing fear of the cartels, said the cartel extorted families trying to cross the border out of thousands of dollars. He didn’t have the money but his family managed to escape. He said many were killed at the hands of the cartel.

They crossed the Rio Grande River and were bused to Chicago more than a week ago. Javier said his dream is to obtain paperwork so he can work.

Chicago officials have signed a nearly $30 million contract with a private security firm to relocate migrants seeking asylum from police stations and the city’s two airports to winterized camps with massive tents before cold weather arrives, following the lead of New York City’s use of communal tents for migrants.

GardaWorld Federal Services and a subsidiary sealed the one-year $29.4 million deal with Chicago on Sept. 12. That was less than a week after Mayor Brandon Johnson announced plans to move about 1,600 migrants to a network of newly erected tent cities across the city. He said the relocations will occur “before the weather begins to shift and change.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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