Migrants shelter at police stations, Lightfoot ‘done with electoral politics’ and more in your Chicago news roundup

Today’s update is about an eight-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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A man shelters with his family at the Central District police station after immigrating to the U.S. and being sent to Chicago from Texas.

Natalie Garcia/For the Sun-Times

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

— Matt Moore (@MattKenMoore)

Weather ☁️

This afternoon will be mostly cloudy with a chance of rain and a high near 53 degrees. Tonight — cloudy with a low near 35. Expect mostly sunny weather tomorrow with a high near 58.


Top story

Expired food, infections, infestations reported at Chicago police stations serving as makeshift shelters for immigrants

Chicago’s response to a growing immigrant crisis has turned police stations into makeshift shelters where asylum seekers have been provided with expired meal rations and where infections and infestations are a common problem.

Outgoing Mayor Lori Lightfoot has taken aim at Greg Abbott, the Republican governor of Texas who has been sending immigrants to Chicago and other sanctuary cities as a response to President Joe Biden’s border policies. In an open letter Sunday, Lightfoot told Abbott that her administration was aware he planned to resume busing immigrants to Chicago and other cities yesterday, noting that 8,000 have already been sent here since August.

“Nearly all the migrants have been in dire need of food, water and clothing, and many needed extensive medical care,” she wrote. “Some of the individuals you placed on buses were women in active labor, and some were victims of sexual assault. None of these urgent needs were addressed in Texas.”

Abbott responded yesterday in an open letter of his own, saying if Chicago can’t handle the surge of migrants from the Mexico border, then Lightfoot should take the issue up with President Joe Biden.

With resources exhausted and limited shelter beds available in Chicago, immigrants who have been sent here have been sleeping and eating meals on the floors of police stations in recent weeks.

Boxes of meal rations that were sent to the Gresham District last week had expired in September 2020, and a notice was sent out urging police officials to return any expired meals they’d received, according to sources with knowledge of the situation and photos shared with the Sun-Times.

A City Hall source said hospitals, hotels and short-term rentals have all declined to take in the asylum seekers because they view the crisis as a public health matter, leaving city officials in a tough spot.

Three weeks ago, volunteers who work with immigrants and refugees started to notice that more arrivals were ending up at police stations, said Mary Schaaf, a volunteer with the online community Refugee Community Connection.

“We need a coordinated effort from the city and the federal government,” Schaaf said. “And that’s what’s been lacking since back in August.”

More on this crisis from our Tom Schuba and Elvia Malagón.


More news you need


A bright one ✨

Latino-owned brewery coming to Back of the Yards

The goal of the Invest South/West program is to spur more development in neglected parts of Chicago, and since launching in 2019, it has helped launch a variety of projects, from housing next to transit to food business incubators.

But until now, none of them has come with lagers made on-site.

Somos Monos Cervecería, a longtime Back of the Yards home-brewing operation, is joining a Southwest Side project at 47th Street and Ashland Avenue known as United Yards that’s getting Invest South/West money. It will be one of the first Latino-owned breweries in the city and one of the few on the South Side.

Construction is set to begin soon on the two-story taproom and brewery at 1641 W. 47th St. It’s expected to be complete in a year.

From left to right: Rocio Santoyo, Victor Santoyo and Rene Lemus of Somos Monos Cervecería at the Santoyo home in Back of the Yards.

From left to right: Rocio Santoyo, Victor Santoyo and Rene Lemus of Somos Monos Cervecería at the Santoyo home in Back of the Yards.

Kevin Tanaka/For Sun-Times

The owner-brewers — and husband and wife — Victor and Rocio Santoyo hope to create a neighborhood hangout that showcases local music and art.

Victor Santoyo, 38, a Back of the Yards native, began brewing at home about 10 years ago, after stumbling across a YouTube tutorial and wondering: “I like beer — why can’t I try and do my own?”

In 2019, he showcased the brew at a festival in Pilsen alongside established local breweries. It went well, so they began tying to find a location.

They looked in Berwyn and Cicero, but jumped at the chance to join United Yards, a multimillion-dollar development with a special emphasis on small businesses.

More on Somos Monos Cervecería from our Michael Loria.


From the press box ⚾🏀


Your daily question☕

What’s the most serendipitous thing that’s ever happened to you in Chicago?

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

Yesterday, we asked you: What would you say is a Chicago rite of passage?

Here’s some of what you said...

“Eating food is a Chicago rite of passage, whether it’s a hot dog sans ketchup, deep dish pizza, doughnut holes at Lou Mitchell’s, cheeseburgers at the Billy Goat Tavern or White Castle sliders really late.” — Bill F.

“Hurling a streak of curse words as you walk into the wind on a cold February — then getting where you have to go anyway.” — Scott S.

“Driving on Lower Wacker and riding butts-to-guts on the L during rush hour.” — Julie Rush

Your first Vienna Beef hot dog, with all the trimmings.” — Carol Bryant

“Going to The Weiner’s Circle in Lincoln Park. Even this jaded NYer wasn’t prepared for that!” — Susan Danzig

“Learning Lower Wacker Drive. It’s a time saver.” — Marcia L.

“A shot of Malort in a bar.” — Roger D.

“Seeing the Christmas lights on Michigan Ave and the Marshall Field’s/Macy’s windows.” — Walter Colby

“Attending the Crosstown Classic.” — Mary Rook-Nykrin

“The neighborhood 16-inch softball game.” — Michael Marsh

“Definitely singing at the 7th inning stretch at Wrigley.” — Kathleen Kessell Werning

“Stand outside and wait for a bus or train in a subzero wind chill.” — Matt Michel

“Getting a red light camera and/or speed camera ticket.” — Guy Matheson

“Dodging a pothole and watching everyone in the rearview do the same.” — Roberto Rosas


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