The O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, has been turned into a makeshift overflow shelter for hundreds of asylum-seeking migrants.
According to multiple reports, the migrants are residing on the ground floor of the building, hidden from the public behind large black curtains.
A Chicago police officer confirmed to News Nation that there are approximately 433 migrants currently sheltering at the airport. At the beginning of August, only 31 migrants were residing at the makeshift shelter.
Some have reported “inhumane” living conditions, the outlet stated.
One migrant told News Nation, “Here, we are truly in conditions that are not at all humane. There are many children sick to their stomachs and other things because the food they are being given is not adequate food.” With limited cots available, some individuals are being forced to sleep on the floor, the news outlet noted.
Another migrant stated that most are only staying at the airport for approximately 10 days, at which point the city places them in more permanent shelters.
“While they find another place for us to go, some have been here for 10 days. But people keep leaving and the city of Chicago will take us and will find a place for us to stay,” the migrant stated. “No one likes to live here. It’s just a process that we have to wait for to be called and then we can leave. You are not going to be there for months, you are only going to be there for days while the city finds a place for you.”
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the migrants’ living conditions at the airport are “overcrowded, unsanitary and unpleasant.” Migrants have been provided with “poor quality food” and limited access to health care, showers, laundry, and bedding.
Vianney Marzullo, a lead volunteer with the Chicago Police Station Response Team, told the Chicago Sun-Times that the airport is meant to be a temporary shelter.
“O’Hare is just a holding place for the incoming flights, technically,” she stated. According to Marzullo, having migrants stay longer than a few days poses a “big public safety issue.”
“I’m grateful they gave us a roof over our heads,” one migrant told the Chicago Sun-Times, “but six days without a bed and without a shower, that was inhumane.”
A Chicago spokesperson blamed the increase of migrants on flights arriving from Texas.
“The city is working to open additional shelters in order to provide temporary shelter for asylum-seekers arriving daily,” the spokesperson told the outlet.
Earlier this year, O’Hare International Airport received national attention for its growing homelessness problem. Staff and travelers alike raised safety concerns and reported being harassed by homeless individuals taking shelter inside the airport during the colder winter months. Chicago reporter William J. Kelly told Fox News Digital that the airport no longer allows homeless encampments.
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