Las ciudades de Chicago y otras localidades en Estados Unidos enfrentan desafíos para brindar refugio a migrantes durante la temporada de frío

As the first cold snaps hit Chicago, dozens of immigrant families without a place to live were moved from the snow-covered streets of the city to the basement of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in a nearby suburb. The last-minute temporary solution, implemented around 1 a.m. on Wednesday and coordinated by volunteers and suburban officials, came at a time when Chicago and other cities have faced challenges in housing the growing population of asylum seekers ahead of the winter.

Mayor Brandon Johnson has proposed installing winter-ready tents, as in New York, and more shelters to accommodate migrants sleeping in police stations, airports, and streets. However, volunteers, churches, and some councilmen argue that the response is too slow and inefficient. “Good will and charitable works cannot solve systemic problems,” said Annie Gomberg, a member of a volunteer network that coordinates food and clothing distribution in police stations. “It is a lack of infrastructure and planning.”

Similar problems could arise as winter weather begins to hit New York, which is struggling to accommodate a growing migrant population, and in Denver, which had to relax its rules during a recent cold snap about how long migrants can stay in shelters. More than 20,000 migrants have arrived in Chicago since last year, most of them sent by bus by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Over 3,000 migrants live inside airports and police stations while waiting to be placed in shelters, including park district field houses, although some have gone to tents on adjacent streets and vacant lots due to overcrowding. The ultimate goal, according to authorities, is to secure permanent and independent housing.

Volunteer organizations, which have provided most of the food and clothing, point out that they are also giving recommendations for surviving the winter. Dressing in multiple layers of clothing is a new concept for many of the migrants accustomed to warmer climates. Temperatures dropped to around 0 degrees Celsius (30 degrees Fahrenheit) on Wednesday. Many of the migrants are from Venezuela, where political, economic, and social crisis has plunged millions into poverty. At least 7.3 million people have left the South American nation, many of them risking their lives on the dangerous journey on foot to the United States.

Donated tents are covered with cardboard, blankets, and tarps to protect against the cold. Venezuelan Gleicy Martinez, 27, has lived for three weeks in a tent outside a Chicago police station with her two children, including a 9-year-old blind boy. They rarely leave the tent due to the cold. When the storm hit on Tuesday, they went to the police station, but it was full. They walked to a nearby department store to warm up a bit. City officials said the arrival of the migrants is an inherited problem they are trying to address.

Mayor Johnson’s administration has opened more than a dozen shelters since taking office in May. City officials have been looking for sites to place tents to withstand the winter, but there are few details. Johnson believes that Chicago will spend approximately 255 million dollars on the migrant crisis by 2023. Johnson told reporters on Wednesday that his goal remains to place migrants in shelters before winter.

Emily Anderson

Emily Anderson is an accomplished journalist with a background in political reporting and a deep passion for storytelling. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she honed her skills in investigative journalism and media ethics.
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