Migrant families have begun to make the difficult decision to return to their native countries after months of living in Chicago. These families came to the United States thinking they’d find good-paying jobs to better provide for their children. Instead, they’ve struggled to find work and even places to live.
Now, as the weather turns cold, migrant families’ worries have escalated. As so many of them live on police floors, in shelters, or outside in tents, they cannot easily escape the cold. This has made them reanalyze their hopes — and the American Dream.
To these men, women, and children, the American Dream has become a lie. It is no longer achievable. Or, they feel it is no longer achievable for migrants like them. They left everything behind to find a better life. Now, they’ve decided that the life America offered them is not worth it.
According to The Chicago Tribune, which spoke to many migrants who made the decision to return to their native countries, Chicago has been a hard place to adjust to. In particular, one migrant family is returning to Venezuela after arriving in Chicago about five months ago.
Their daughter’s education was one of the main reasons why the family finally chose to migrate to the U.S. They wanted to ensure she had access to a better education. After five months in Chicago, they could not manage to successfully get her enrolled in school.
After the patriarch of the family, Michael Castejon, couldn’t find a job that paid him enough to afford rent, the entire family ultimately decided to return to Venezuela. While they state that they will still struggle back in their native country, at least they have family there.
.@UChicagoCrown and @CityClubChicago co-hosted a panel discussion on "Understanding and Navigating Chicago’s Migrant Population,” which explored how to manage the influx of arrivals and how to help them. https://t.co/2E4az3cJOc
— The University of Chicago (@UChicago) November 13, 2023
Chicago has struggled to help the wave of people that have come to the city since Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) began sending migrants to sanctuary cities. Since 2022, more than 20,000 migrants have arrived in the city, many of whom were sent by the governor.
Some even explained that they came to Chicago because they were given a free ticket. They didn’t have anywhere else to go and had heard about Chicago, one of the biggest cities in the country.
At first, Chicago worked to help as many migrants and families as they could. However, new migrants, such as Castejon and his family, believe they have not received the help and assistance that many of the first wave did.
Castejon has found it increasingly difficult to find a good-paying job without a work permit. One of the main issues many migrants like Castejon face is the struggle to get a work permit quickly. Even though policies have been put in place to expedite this, Castejon has stated that he didn’t know it would take so long for it to finally happen.
Other families that arrived in Chicago months ago are also looking to leave as the weather worsens. One family is heading to Detroit, as they were told by another migrant that they would be able to find work there — something they couldn’t easily do in Chicago.
Many have begun to realize that Chicago is at a breaking point when it comes to how it handles incoming waves of migrants.
While many assistance programs are in place, it can be incredibly difficult for migrant families to get those good-paying jobs other migrants have told them about. Though organizations like the Catholic Charities of Chicago do a lot to help ease their difficulties, it hasn’t been enough.
As a result, as the weather began to get colder, many migrant families decided to begin the journey back to Texas, before ultimately returning to the native country they left for a better life not too long ago.