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.
On August 5, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers raided a gas station on Belmont and Milwaukee Avenues that has long been a hiring site for day laborers (jornaleros) in Chicago. A group of workers—most of whom specialize in construction and landscaping—gathered that morning, as they do every day. They waited for employers who regularly come by to make job offers and negotiate a pay rate. The workers who frequent this particular site in Albany Park are black, Polish, Eastern European, Latinx. Some are immigrants, and some are not.
Mi esposo llegó del trabajo, le di de comer y se bañó. Y yo le dije, ‘vamos a ir al parque con los niños, ¿no quieres ir?’ Me dijo ‘no, váyanse ustedes.’
My husband came back from work, I gave him something to eat, and he showered. And I tell him, ‘I’m going to the park with the kids, do you want to come?’
At the corner of 19th and Carpenter, Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) gathered for a public forum introducing their new report on immigration reform, Destructive Delay. Written in response to President Obama’s call for patience from immigration rights groups, and to bring to light the practices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the report gives a voice to the undocumented immigrant population. Tania Unzueta, the main author of the report led the evening’s presentation. Continue reading