‘Bring People Closer’: Cities Turn To Schools To House, Support Migrants

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Reagan Reese Contributor
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Multiple cities are turning to school districts to house and support an influx of migrants through the summer months.

Following the expiration of Title 42, both New York City and Chicago have been overwhelmed by the number of migrants that have come to the cities, arguing that there is a lack of resources. In response, the city governments, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, have considered school districts to house migrants. (RELATED: Biden’s HHS Secretary Dismisses Claims The Agency Lost Tens Of Thousands Of Migrant Children As ‘Misrepresentation)

In Chicago, Democratic Mayor Brandon Johnson and Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the fourth largest school district in the country, announced that a district high school will be used as a welcome center for migrants to receive assistance and behavioral care. The center, which will cost CPS about $750,000, will help provide migrant families with free meals, enroll children in the district, test English proficiency and conduct trauma assessments.

Migrant families who come to the CPS welcome center will receive Medicaid as well as medical and dental services. If the CPS welcome center is successful, the district plans to open more in schools throughout the CPS system.

“We’re going to stand on the shoulders of our ancestors, and we’re going to bring people closer together to make sure that the families who have been here have the full force of government and families who wish to call Chicago their home also have the full force of government,” Johnson said at the press conference.

Democratic New York City Mayor Eric Adams and the NYC Office of Emergency Management are considering 20 to 30 empty public school buildings to use as temporary shelters for migrants while students are on summer vacation.

“As Mayor Adams has said repeatedly, we have more than 51,800 asylum-seekers in our care and have reached capacity,” a mayoral spokesperson told the New York Post about the plan to use school buildings. “While this option is not ideal, none are, and we are in no position to take anything off the table.”

The Adams’ administration faced backlash in June from parents and students after six public school gyms were used to house migrants. An estimated 16,000 migrant children were enrolled in the New York City public school system during the 2022-2023 school year, an influx that caused music rooms and science labs to be turned into classrooms in order to handle the amount of students.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement is planning to use a former North Carolina boarding school campus to house up to 800 migrant children between 13 and 17 years old. The academy, which closed in 2022, entered a five-year contract with the HHS to keep migrant children at the campus while they wait to be reunited with their families, according to Fox 8 News.

In May, El Paso, Texas, used Bassett Middle School and Morehead Middle School as a temporary shelter for migrants coming from the southern border, KFOX 14 reported. The El Paso Independent School District is working with the city government to help handle the number of migrants coming to the area, according to a memo on the district website.

The El Paso Independent School District, the HHS, Adams’ press office, Johnson’s press office and CPS did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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