Family of dozen migrants from Venezuela seeks help at 16th (Jefferson Park) District police station
by BRIAN NADIG
A family of about 12 migrants from Venezuela walked to the 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District Station, 5151 N. Milwaukee Ave., Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 14, seeking help after flying into O’Hare International Airport and being driven to a local park, according to Chicago police.
An acquaintance picked up the family at the airport and drove them to Austin-Foster Park, 6020 W. Foster Ave., and from there they walked less than a mile to the police station after officers responded to a call for service at the park and met the family, police said.
16th District commander Heather Daniel said that officers bought food for the migrants and provided the children with activity materials that the district gives away at community events.
The officers did a great job making the family members feel welcome, Daniel said. “You don’t always hear about stories like that,” Daniel said. “(The officers) got them food out of their own pockets.”
The Salvation Army was able to help provide shelter to the migrants, who reportedly spent several hours at the station. The youngest family member was 3 years old, police said.
Reportedly the family crossed the border into Texas, where a nonprofit agency provided airline tickets after the family members had been granted temporary asylum in the U.S. and given identification, which allowed them to travel by air, sources said.
Also on the Far Northwest Side, a couple of weeks ago a temporary welcoming center for migrants was set up at North Park Village, 5801 N. Pulaski Road. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been busing migrants from Texas to sanctuary cities such as Chicago and New York since late August.
Also today, Governor J.B. Pritzker issued an emergency disaster proclamation and activated approximately 75 members of the Illinois National Guard to ensure all state resources are available to support asylum seekers arriving nearly daily to Chicago from Texas, according to a news release.
The proclamation enables the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and other state agencies, in coordination with Chicago, Cook County, and other local governments, to ensure the individuals and families receive the assistance they need. This includes transport, emergency shelter and housing, food, health screenings, medical assessments, treatments, and other necessary care and services, the release said.
More than 500 asylum seekers have arrived already in Chicago since Aug. 31, Pritzker said, with more buses arriving nearly every day. Pritzker said migrants are being sent to our Illinois with no official advance notice from Gov. Abbott.
“Let me be clear: while other states may be treating these vulnerable families as pawns, here in Illinois, we are treating them as people,” Pritzker said in a press release.
Cyryl Jakubowski contributed