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Seven buses of migrants arrive in Chicago for second day in a row

Seven buses of migrants arrive in Chicago for second day in a row
Seven buses of migrants arrive in Chicago for second day in a row 01:23

CHICAGO (CBS) -- More migrants arrived in Chicago on Wednesday, and we have already seen a record for new arrivals this week.

For the past two days, migrants have been dropped off at Jefferson Street and Vernon Park Place, near the Chicago Greyhound Bus Station. Our cameras were rolling as staff from the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communication coordinated the influx.

More migrants arrive in Chicago despite limited resources 01:58

Another seven buses came in on Wednesday – in addition to the 60 buses that have arrived so far just this month. Late Wednesday night, we were there as adults and small children stepped off one of the buses, and greeted with blankets.

At least 50 people are on each of the buses coming in. Since last August, more than 15,000 migrants have arrived in Chicago. 

More migrants coming to Chicago on Wednesday 01:41

RELATED: How to help migrants

As CBS 2's Shardaa Gray reported, former Mayor Lori Lightfoot made it clear Chicago would be a safe haven for migrants, but some South Side residents are hoping Mayor Brandon Johnson will close that door.

"We are taxpayers. We are property owners," said Jessica Jackson. "Our money should go towards fixing our communities, not supporting people who have not put a dime into our communities."

Jackson and others from a group called Concerned Black Citizens of Chicago had strong words outside City Hall Wednesday.

"The South Side has been under-resourced, underfunded for years - for decades - and it's just disrespectful to the community," Jackson said.

Many called on Mayor Johnson to put a stop to migrants coming into the city,.

LaMartine Edwards specifically talked about a recent meeting about a proposed migrant housing base camp in Roseland 115th and Halsted Streets.

"We just want to know what he's going to do about that. We don't want those migrants in that area at all, because we have enough problems," Edwards said. "This is Roseland. This is Ada Park. This is Maple Park."

Protesters hope Mayor Johnson will close door on migrant arrivals 02:27

CBS 2's Marybel González took these concerns to Mayor Brandon Johnson.

González: "We see police stations saturated; volunteers stretched thin. With all of that said, will Chicago continue to be a welcoming sanctuary city?"

Mayor Johnson: "Yes. Look, during difficult times, sometimes there are individuals who feel the pressure, and sometimes our values are called into question. We're the city of Chicago, and this mission that the entire country has endured over the last year and a half, you know, has been one that of course has pressed our convictions, but we don't necessarily have to acquiesce to fear because we are being pressed."

Right now, at least 1,600 families are staying in police stations across the city. In total nearly 9,000 migrants are staying in 21 temporary shelters.

They're also living at O'Hare and Midway International Airports.

Another seven buses full of migrants also pulled into the Greyhound Bus Station on Tuesday - with emergency management officials telling CBS 2 that some buses even ended up on standby as they didn't know how or where they would be taken in by the city.

"This is not what a sanctuary city looks like and how do we make this something that is the vision of what we want Chicago to be for the future? I don't think this is the best we can do. I really hope it's not," said Annie Gomber, lead volunteer for the 15th District Police Response Team.

Volunteer groups that have stepped in said space and resources are running out, and their concerns are only growing as dozens more migrants keep arriving.

Migrants board charter buses to Chicago from El Paso, Texas 02:47

Meanwhile Tuesday in El Paso, Texas, migrants lined up to get on buses – some of them headed for Chicago. The State of Texas also bused migrants to New York City and Denver.

Inside a shelter, Ken Molestina of CBS Texas saw families simply waiting around trying to figure out what their next step would be.

Joel Vasquez made it to El Paso from Venezuela and was planning to head to Chicago on Wednesday. He tried for several days to figure out how to get himself and his family to Chicago.

"I have two brothers and two cousins there, thankfully," Vasquez said in Spanish when asked why he was coming to Chicago, And I also have a job. I'm headed there for a job."

Vasquez said for a month and a half, he and his family rode boats and the tops and sides of trains – and even walked through the treacherous jungle known as the Darién Gap in Central America.

"In my case, I saw a lot of people die," he said. "I thank god we made it out of there alive."

Back in Chicago, Mayor Johnson said the city continues to open shelters – and its goal is to move people out of police stations. But he did not give a timeline of when that would be.

"We're going to continue to work hard and come up with a solution that works for everyone in the city," Mayor Johnson said.

We know that the city is moving forward with tent base camps for migrants. But we have not heard when or where that will happen either.

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