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Migrants say they were kicked out of Chicago Police station and into frigid cold

Migrants say they were forced out of Chicago Police station and into the cold
Migrants say they were forced out of Chicago Police station and into the cold 02:45

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Migrants who were staying at the Calumet (5th) District police station in the Pullman community say they were left to spend the night outside in frigid temperatures Tuesday night.

They told us they were forced to leave and take their belongings with them.

As CBS 2's Marybel González reported Tuesday night, the moment the migrants were ordered to leave was caught on camera. Earlier, some were grabbing their belongings from the lobby, and although some were going in and out of the station, they said they were not allowed to spend the night indoors.

The video sent to CBS 2 appears to show a captain from the Calumet District telling migrants staying in the lobby of the police station at 727 E. 111th St. to leave.

"This is not a game," the captain is heard saying. "I want everybody out this station, out this lobby… all this junk out of here."

Volunteers who work with migrants at the police station said this came after some of the asylum seekers were taken to a shelter Tuesday.

According to the volunteers, those who didn't go to the shelter were told by the police captain that they could no longer sleep in the lobby - despite the frigid temperatures.

Some of the migrants we spoke to said there was no more room for them. Others said they didn't want to stay at a shelter – and they said the order to clear out felt like retaliation for staying.

We asked Chicago Police about the video and if their policy on allowing migrants to sleep in their lobbies has changed.

Police initially referred questions to the Office of Emergency Management and Communications. OEMC did not respond.

Then, late Tuesday night, Chicago Police News Affairs told CBS 2 that the migrants were not kicked out of the police station and that they were allowed to sleep there.

After hearing the migrants might have to spend the night outdoors, volunteer Jenny Leal and her sister scrambled to find an apartment where some of them could stay.

They were able to take in four migrants Tuesday night.

"Our hearts break for them," said Leal. "You know, they're out here in the cold, and it shouldn't be. It shouldn't be - for anybody. We serve the homeless in Chicago, too."

The migrants said they want work permits to be able to move into their own places. They added that although they say they're thankful to the officers who've allowed them to stay at the station so far, they feel how they were asked to leave and stay out in the cold was inhumane.

Wednesday, a network of 17 churches citywide began taking in 100 people from police stations into their spaces to provide temporary shelter.

Volunteers said that could be the reason why police stations are asking the migrants to leave.

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