'Kids should be in school': Dozens of incoming migrants join Chicago's public schools
CHICAGO - A number of elementary school-age children that recently arrived in Chicago from Central and South America and are staying at a temporary shelter in Little Village won’t get much of a reprieve from cracking the books.
With summer for CPS students just a couple of weeks away, dozens of migrant children staying at a temporary shelter in Little Village joined a nearby elementary school on Monday, local Ald. Mike Rodriguez (22nd) said.
"Even if it’s just two weeks, it’s two weeks," he told the Sun-Times at an event near the school last week. "Kids should be in school."
The school, near 27th Street and Kostner Avenue, is about half a mile away from where the local alderman established a temporary shelter for migrants at the Piotrowski Park earlier in the month.
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Rodriguez didn’t know exactly how many students would enroll, but estimated that from the 200 migrants there, around 40 to 50 kids would join the elementary school and up to a dozen high school-age students might soon join Little Village Lawndale High School.
"Despite the fact that this is a crisis, a man-made crisis, made by xenophobic, racist policies from southern governors, we should also look at this is as an opportunity to bring in new energy, and the revitalized immigrant spirit to our community," he said.
"This reinforces who we are. We’re welcoming, we’re migrants, and the people coming in become a part of our society. They become taxpayers, renters and eventually homeowners, they fill our classrooms, they do essential work, they are us."
The welcome they have received is in sharp contrast to the pushback immigrants have faced in some parts of the city.
"As an immigrant community we’re naturally positioned with the resources and the neighbors that are very welcoming to the migrants," he said.
As much as the neighborhood has to offer migrants, Rodriguez said their arrival could bode well for the future of the neighborhood.
"I hope they stay and become a fabric of our community, as Mexican immigrants did decades ago, and eastern European and Polish immigrants did a generation before them," the alderperson said.
CPS did not immediately respond to a request to comment.