Immigration | Interview Issue 2017 | Interviews

Seeking a Home, Without a Country

Long government processing times for asylum seekers have led to a housing crisis for a vulnerable group

Amina and her children (Daniel Rowell)

Asylum seekers occupy the uncertain ground between outsiders and refugees. Unlike refugees, who are pre-screened by the government and can access public assistance upon arrival, asylum seekers find their own route to the U.S.—sometimes illegally, sometimes by visa—and are ineligible to receive any government assistance while awaiting a decision on their cases.

Food

A Taste of West Africa on the South Side

The owners of four restaurants and businesses discuss bridging old and new homes through food

Mariam and Ade Lala, owners of Southside African Restaurant (Sarah Conway)

For many West African immigrants, neighborhoods like Chatham, South Chicago, and Bronzeville are becoming a home away from the North Side nucleus of the African immigrant community. Five West African immigrant business owners share how food is a bridge to preserve their culture and build new homes on Chicago’s South Side.