April 30, 2024

Health Officials Brace for a Summer Surge in Asylum-Seekers

Chicago health officials are preparing for a summer surge of migrants bused here from the southern border that will eclipse the number of arrivals the previous year.

As more than 38,000 aslyum seekers have been transported to Chicago since August of 2022 with an expectation of 2,000 to 5,000 more transports per week this upcoming summer, CommunityHealth focused the 10th annual All In Breakfast Summit on “Meeting the Migrant Health Need.”

Moderated by Kristen Schorsch from WBEZ Chicago, the panel featured leaders in the city’s migrant crisis response including Mario Garcia from Onward Neighborhood House, Dr. Simbo Ige MD, MS, MPH from Chicago Department of Public Health, Dr. Evelyn Figueroa from Pilsen Food Pantry, and our very own Steph Willding, MPA.

In collaboration to generate a system where everyone has access to the right health care, at the right time, in the right place, the conversation examined the intersections of the health care safety net such as accessibility to quality resources like food and housing, the emotional and physical trauma of surviving immigration even after arrival in the United States, and  public safety hazards like pathogens in over-populated shelters.

Crain’s Chicago Business reported on the event, noting that the expected 2,000+ migrants transported to Chicago in the summer “could more than double in the weeks around the Democratic National Convention in August.” The article elaborates upon the leaders’ call to the federal government to develop a sustainable, inclusive “structure to handle growing migrant health care needs.”

The panel emphasized the priority for “health problems to be taken care of before asylum-seekers even reach Illinois,” explaining that “city officials are working with U.S. border authorities to get them to do their job.”

CommunityHealth hosts the All In event series to generate solutions for a system where everyone has access to the right health care, at the right time, in the right place. Join the conversation at the All In Celebration on Thursday, September 19th, and read the event synopsis about how health officials are bracing for a summer surge in asylum-seekers.