September 8, 2023

WBEZ on a Year into the Migrant Crisis

WBEZ sat down with the CommunityHealth again to learn more about the ongoing migrant crisis as it crosses the one year mark. 

On September 7th, 2023, Chief Executive Officer of CommunityHealth, Stephanie Willding, MPA, talked with Dr. Evelyn Figueroa, MD, of Pilsen Food Pantry and Sasha-Ann Simons of the Reset podcast about the more than 13,000 asylum seekers who have been transported to Chicago in the past year.

The discussion elaborated upon the thousands of migrants that southern border states like Texas continue to ship to our sanctuary city, with 4 more busloads arriving this past week.

With over 2,000 recent arrivals currently sleeping on floors of police precincts, including at least 700 children, migrants await immigration processes for months at risk of sexual assault, robbery, and more after months-long expeditions to asylum.

As we head into the respiratory illness season, Stephanie elaborates upon both the physical and mental health conditions that migrants face as advocates and allies work to secure permanent housing, vaccinations, and more resources for our new neighbors.

Shifting the focus of our efforts in precincts to strategic partnerships with larger entities, she explains that CommunityHealth deployed mobile care units from May to August of 2023 and is shifting back to our historical focus as a medical home for migrants now registered as patients.

“In a prolonged crisis, if I have learned anything in the last three and a half years, it is really important that folks lean into their core work and break down those siloes with other organizations and their core work in order to create some efficiencies, when it feels like there is not a clear strategy.”

Hear more about the requests of health care, community, and political leaders for the federal government to support sanctuary cities, such as through providing temporary protected status, on A Year into the Migrant Crisis, What’s Needed?