As most Chicagoans know, new arrivals continue to arrive by bus to Chicago in an uncoordinated fashion, arriving from southern states with little communication. Although the City has opened up 20 shelters, people are still taking temporary shelter in police station lobbies until shelter space becomes available, which is terrible for both new arrivals and police personnel. To date, the federal government has provided a dismal amount of funding which fails to match the scope of the humanitarian crisis. This is incredibly difficult for everyone involved.
Late last week, the federal government announced the extension and redesignation of Venezuelans for Temporary Protected Status for 18 months due to the instability and lack of safety in Venezuela. The redesignation includes employment authorization for Venezuelans arriving before 7/31/23, which up to this point has been basically non-existent. Still, it takes time, paperwork, and legal support to be granted TPS or work authorization. People want to work and industries want workers, so I’m hopeful this authorization will ease burdens in the weeks and months to come.
In the meantime, our grassroots volunteers on the far Northwest side have been incredible – taking stock of basic needs, coordinating and delivering meals and bedding, donating time and money and teaching English to our city’s newest community members.
Our office will continue to act as a liaison with the City, as well as continue advocating to the federal government and supporting grassroots volunteer efforts through food and financial support.
We have outlined the best ways to get involved locally on our website.
In our area, the best way to tap in is to follow the FB group at this link https://www.facebook.com/groups/596294835770604/ or donate money at this link https://opencollective.com/…/food-for-asylum-seekers…
There is still a big need for landlords willing to rent to new arrivals coming out of shelters. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if there is interest.
Info on the TPS and work authorization is https://www.dhs.gov/…/secretary-mayorkas-announces…