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Chicago is still a major destination for asylum seekers

The need for local representation for asylum seekers is the greatest we’ve seen in more than 30 years.

A sign in Spanish shows travel times to U.S. destinations at a migrant shelter in San Diego. Registration forms at the shelter for asylum-seeking families offer insights on who is coming, how they are treated in U.S. custody and where they go, with Chicago perhaps surprisingly far down on the list.
Elliot Spagat / AP

I’m writing out of concern regarding the misleading headline for the Associated Press article, “Chicago, long a magnet for Mexican immigrants, draws few asylum seekers, study finds (Aug. 30).

The article describes a short survey, conducted at one migrant shelter in San Diego. It should not be extrapolated to reflect the full population of asylum seekers coming to the United States, and certainly not Chicago.

The number of asylum seekers entering the United States constantly shifts in response to the violence causing individuals to flee their home countries, and to administration policies that have forced asylum seekers to remain in danger in Mexico, in violation of U.S. law.

Nonetheless, at the National Immigrant Justice Center (which provides immigration legal services to asylum seekers and other immigrants in Chicago and throughout the Midwest), we continue to see significant numbers of asylum seekers arriving in the Chicago area to seek legal protection. This includes both people who come to our city after entering at the southern border and those who enter through O’Hare International Airport.

Each week, NIJC provides legal consultations to new asylum seekers, who are attempting to seek safety without the guarantee of legal representation.

In fact, right now the need for local representation for asylum seekers is the greatest we’ve experienced in more than 30 years.

As a welcoming city, Chicago continues to be a destination for many families and individuals seeking protection.

Mary Meg McCarthy, executive director, National Immigrant Justice Center

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

West Side schools need funding too

All children in Chicago deserve a quality education. To achieve that, every school should not be funded the same way. Providing resources for schools that need it the most is important to uplift my community and others like it.

I am an East Garfield Park mother with two high school students. My daughter is a rising junior at Westinghouse College Prep and my son is a rising sophomore at Urban Prep.

They attend quality schools, but I am concerned about other schools in my neighborhood that lack quality programs, such as a gifted center, counselors and so much more.

The West Side has many challenges, including a legacy of poverty and disinvestment. Providing funding to schools in neighborhoods that need it the most is a crucial step towards equity in Chicago.

Brenda Taylor, East Garfield Park

Mayor Lightfoot trumps Ted Cruz

In a verbal gunfight with Mayor Lori Lightfoot this week, Sen. Ted Cruz barely cleared his holster.

The smart-mouthed Texas senator tweeted: “Gun control doesn’t work. Look at Chicago. Stopping violent criminals BEFORE they commit violent crimes is the most effective way to reduce murder rates.”

Lightfoot fired back: “60% of illegal firearms recovered in Chicago come from outside IL -- mostly from states dominated by coward Republicans like you who refuse to enact commonsense gun legislation. Keep our name out of your mouth.”

Talk about a smoking gun!

Score: Lightfoot 10. Cruz 0.

Dan McGuire, Bensenville