clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Afternoon Edition: March 27, 2020

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

Martha Diaz, who has temporary legal status through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, is her parents’ safety net as they endure the immediate economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. | Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

Rain, rain and more rain this weekend. This afternoon we’ll see a high near 49 degrees with a chance of showers after 4 p.m. Tonight’s low will be around 42 degrees. Saturday, severe storms are in the forecast, with a high near 63 degrees. Sunday, more rain, with a high around 53 degrees.

Top story

Undocumented immigrants face coronavirus, looming jobs crisis with no real safety net

Hector and Sandra are scared. He’s diabetic and she has rheumatoid arthritis, putting them at higher risk of getting sick and dying from the coronavirus. But since they’re undocumented, they have to keep working — no matter what.

“If we don’t work, we can’t survive. It’s just that simple,” Sandra said. Both work at a warehouse packaging Windex, Clorox disinfecting wipes and other cleaning supplies.

On March 11, the day the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, a worker near Sandra on the crowded warehouse assembly line started coughing. Fearing the worst, she called off work the next week, but her husband still clocked in. The couple makes about $800 a week after taxes, just enough to cover the basics, including the $1,200 monthly rent for the two-bedroom apartment they share with their 13-year-old son.

“We both have to work to make it,” Sandra said. “I’m worried about my health, but what can I do?”

We’re making our vital coronavirus coverage free for all readers. See the latest news here.

There are around 400,000 undocumented immigrants in Illinois. None of them can claim unemployment insurance, even if, like Hector and Sandra, they’ve paid into the system for years.

Tax-paying undocumented immigrants were also excluded from receiving $1,200 checks from the federal government in the Senate’s $2 trillion stimulus package. Those checks are reserved for qualified workers with Social Security numbers.

Nearly half of undocumented residents are uninsured, according to a recent analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit health care think tank. That means there’s a high chance many of them who feel sick are still going to work, said Jorge Mujica, an immigrant and labor rights organizer with Arise Chicago.

“There’s no real safety net for undocumented immigrants, not even during a pandemic,” Mujica said. “Most undocumented immigrants don’t have paid time off or sick leave. If they’re sent home, they’re left without an income at all. One day without work for them becomes a crisis.”

Read the full story from reporter Carlos Ballesteros.

More news you need

  1. The statewide stay-at-home order is likely to continue “deep into April,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said today, but the final call will be made by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. Read what the mayor said.
  2. The number of detainees at Cook County Jail infected with the coronavirus has risen to 38, Sheriff Tom Dart said. Our live blog has more on what happened today.
  3. The House approved a $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill this afternoon after it passed through the Senate last night. Now, it heads to President Trump for signing. Here’s what that means for Illinois.
  4. The pandemic has thrown state government into flux, as the legislative session has been put on pause. Now state officials are scrambling – largely by phone – to try and figure out how to manage Illinois’ already precarious financial situation.
  5. Records we obtained offer details about Milwaukee mob boss Frank Balistrieri’s relationship with Chicago mob boss Tony Accardo — and how he survived crossing him. Dive into “The FBI Files.”
  6. A Rogers Park couple has been painting murals around Chicago and Evanston since 2005, adding 24 pieces to the city’s public art landscape. Read about Lea Pinsky and Dustin Harris, who were artists long before getting married.

A bright one

After Mayor Lori Lightfoot closed the lakefront, the 606, Millennium Park and the Riverwalk because residents ignored her orders to stay home, a meme poking fun at the harsh new reality has cropped up.

In one photoshopped image, Lightfoot stands in front of police barricades blocking the lakefront trail from rule-breakers, emitting the vibe of a middle school principal who just walked into a classroom that’s gone off the rails. In other versions, she’s glaring at a jogger, or perched on top of a police car.

A meme of Mayor Lori Lightfoot guarding the lakefront trail has gone viral. | Danny Martinez/Facebook

The mastermind behind the now-viral meme is 27-year-old Danny Martinez, who said he had no idea the post would blow up. He said he just wanted to make his friends laugh, while emphasizing Lightfoot’s message.

“Part of the reason I did it is to spread awareness, like ‘yo, you guys need to stay inside, this is not a joke’ but at the same time bring some humor to the chaos that’s going on,” he said.

Since his post went viral, he created an Instagram account to highlight his series. He said the project will help keep him busy while he stays home from work amid the shutdown.

“If it just puts a smile on people’s faces during this time, then I guess my mission was complete,” he said.

Read the full story, from yours truly, to see some more memes.

From the press box

With the NBA season still up in the air, we’ve been taking a look at each Bulls player, the season they had, and the upcoming seasons they could have, with the Bulls or elsewhere. Today’s player is Denzel Valentine.

And with essential medical supplies running low due to the coronavirus outbreak, Project CURE is hosting an equipment drive at the United Center this weekend. Here’s for more info, including a list of items they’re hoping to collect.

Your daily question ☕

We’re in for a rainy weekend, so we want to know, what’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?

Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you if you’ve been challenging yourself to try cooking or baking something new now that you have some extra time on your hands. Here’s what some of you said:

“Yes, I made White chocolate macadamia nut cookies, but they turned out hard… that didn’t go so well. I then made salt dough ornaments and started a quarantine journal! I’m much better at writing!” wrote Emilie Hansel on Facebook.

Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

Did a friend forward you this email? Sign up here to get the Afternoon Edition in your inbox every day.