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Chicago's swift relocation of migrants from police stations raises concerns, questions

Chicago's swift relocation of migrants from police stations causes concerns, questions
Chicago's swift relocation of migrants from police stations causes concerns, questions 02:38

CHICAGO (CBS) – There were new questions and some concerns on Wednesday over Chicago's movement of migrants out of police stations.

The city has cleared people away from five stations as of Wednesday afternoon.

More than 1,400 remain outside several other districts. As for those who were moved, the city still hasn't made it clear exactly where the migrants were going and how they were prioritizing each case.

CBS 2's Andrew Ramos spoke to one insider who said the frustration was turning into anger.

The cleanup outside of the 8th Police District on the South Side was swift and came without warning on Wednesday morning.

For weeks, asylum seekers housed in tents took hold of West 63rd Street. By the late morning, it was a mere memory.

The 8th District was among the many that were cleared or what the city called "decompressed" in an effort to start moving migrants out, with the majority of them headed to temporary shelters.

Other districts that saw movement in the previous day were Districts 1, 2, 3, and 4.

"We are finding a lot of areas where we see gaps and we are at a point where we are very concerned," said Melissa Deming, of the volunteer group, Police Station Response Team.

While the city attributed the movement of migrants to placement in shelters or, in some cases, asylum seekers resettling on their own, Deming, who volunteers primarily at District 7, said it's not what the city was doing, but how it was doing it that's causing problems.

"Basically, they are only taking families and we hardly have any families," she said.

She added, "Some of them got there later than them so I really believe that those couples without kids and singles have a lot of reasons to be really upset at our welcoming city."

CBS 2 reached out to the Office of Emergency Management and Communications to get a better understanding of who is being prioritized in the relocation. And if it's specific to families, how does the city define a family?

A spokesperson only said the city was in the process of transitioning all individuals and families seeking asylum.

It was the latest in what volunteer groups said is a series of fumbles by the city on how it's tackling the migrant crisis. Communication with the groups that are on the front lines assisting asylum seekers has been less than lackluster, they said.

"I understand that this is a crisis and it's really difficult but our request is that its equitable," Deming said.

While the number of arriving migrants has significantly dropped in recent weeks, the number of those still awaiting placement at police districts remained staggering: more than 1,400 as of Wednesday.

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