To help migrants, social organizations need more support

So far, 19 buses carrying more than 1,400 people have arrived, and more are on the way. Social impact organizations have neither the excess capacity nor the resources to respond to this ongoing humanitarian need.

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Biannelly Guaramata, who arrived from Venezuela after crossing the U.S. border from Mexico, relaxes with her children at a Texas hotel. In recent weeks, Venezuelans have arrived in increasing numbers.

Biannelly Guaramata, a migrant from Venezuela, relaxes with her children at a Texas hotel. More buses carrying migrants from Texas to Chicago are expected.

Joe Raedle/Getty

The continued arrival of asylum seekers, most from Venezuela to Chicago via Texas, has created a humanitarian crisis that requires the effective collaboration of philanthropy, governments, businesses and social impact organizations.

On Aug. 31, the first bus arrived at Union Station. Since then, 19 buses have arrived carrying 1,452 people, including families with young children, seniors, single adults and people with disabilities, all arriving without notice.

Over the last several weeks, many social impact organizations such as The Resurrection Project have been stretched in their capacity to provide services and ensure migrants access essential supplies for their well-being. The record number of migrants seeking asylum at the border will only intensify the current need.

Local governments, philanthropy and the business community must move quickly to fund strategies that include, at a minimum: rapid response, intermediate case management and long-term immigrant inclusion.

A well-funded, coordinated rapid response involves translation services, shelter, food, clothing, health screenings, family reunification and transportation.

Intermediate case management begins once people are sheltered and includes support for securing employment, accessing medical care and enrolling children in school, among other services.

Long-term, the immigrants will need help to secure housing and legal services, and to become part of the local economy to strengthen our social fabric.

The last time our immigration laws were overhauled was 1986, so addressing the underlying cause of this crisis requires a definitive act from the U.S. Congress. In the absence of comprehensive immigration reform, the federal government should immediately disburse resources to states, cities and social impact organizations.

Social impact organizations have neither the excess capacity nor the resources to respond to this ongoing humanitarian need. To work proactively with a responsible, coordinated approach, the private, philanthropic and public sectors must find ways to support these organizations.

More buses from Texas are on their way to Chicago. We cannot ignore reality and pretend this will eventually go away.

Raul I. Raymundo, CEO and co-founder;
Erendira Rendon, vice president of immigrant justice;
The Resurrection Project

Hypocrisy on display in debate

In last Thursday’s gubernatorial debate, Darren Bailey raised a false issue, namely that both he and Gov. J.B. Pritzker should pledge not to run for higher office if they win the governorship of Illinois.

One wonders if Bailey was as vociferous expressing this opinion back in 2000 when Republican George W. Bush ran for the presidency while he still had two years left to serve in his term as governor of Texas. Or if he raised the same point about Sarah Palin running for vice president in 2008 when she still had two years left to serve as governor of Alaska, and, in fact, resigned from that office after losing the election. Why is Bailey so comfortable with this hypocrisy?

Chet Alexander, Chicago

Debate a debacle

The J.B. Pritzker/Darren Bailey debate was a travesty. Both candidates were demeaned, and little information was gleaned.

The rules were flawed. Sixty seconds is not enough time to answer most questions. Name- calling and interruptions should never have been allowed. Last but not least, both candidates were able to avoid direct answers to specific questions.

Given our current political atmosphere, the debate honchos should have taken great pains to be sure that it was respectful and polite, with each candidate having pledged to this beforehand.

Debates are an important part of our political process. Both candidates are questioned by neutral and knowledgeable reporters to get the facts. (Spoiler alert: Attack ads are not always factual.) How else can voters make an informed choice?

We can and must do better than this.

Carol Kraines, Deerfield

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