A woman carrying a toddler, and a boy holding the hand of a smaller boy, were among a group who arrived Wednesday at a Humboldt Park shelter that is serving as a refuge for immigrants being sent to Chicago from the Texas border.
For the third time in a week, Texas officials sent busloads of immigrants to Chicago as part of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to send people arriving at the southern border into Democrat-led cities such as New York and Washington D.C.
A man, who said he was part of the first wave that arrived via a Texas-chartered bus, greeted the newcomers in Spanish, telling them he welcomed them with all his heart. Chicago officials ushered in the group from a CTA bus to a Salvation Army building where many are temporarily living.
In a statement, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office confirmed Wednesday afternoon that another group of immigrants had arrived from Texas.
“We will continue to live out our values as a welcoming city and respond accordingly,” Lightfoot said in the statement.
Officials did not say how many immigrants arrived Wednesday, and the city did not say how many others remain at the shelter. City officials previously said that some of the individuals were trying to reunite with relatives or friends in other parts of the country.
Brian Duewel, a spokesman for the Salvation Army North and Central Illinois division, said the immigrants, which include some families, are staying inside two of their shelters located in Humboldt Park.
The Salvation Army has set up cots inside a gym to house individuals who arrived alone if there isn’t a room available for them, he said. The set-up is similar to how the shelter prepares for an influx of individuals seeking shelter during freezing temperatures in the winter.
“Our role here is — and really our role anytime someone goes to one of our homeless shelters — just to make sure that they’re safe, make sure they have a place to sleep, make sure they have food to eat, they have clothes, and that they are safe for the night,” Duewel said. “That’s the same here for the refugees that are showing up. We’re here to make sure that they’re safe — it doesn’t matter if you are from Chicago or from somewhere else. You should have the basic necessities to live.”
Some of the individuals have spent their down time playing basketball in the gym, he said.
Elvia Malagón’s reporting on social justice and income inequality is made possible by a grant from The Chicago Community Trust.