Numerous individuals who had crossed the U.S. border and settled in Chicago are starting to reconsider their decisions, with some opting to return to their home countries.
A recent story in the Chicago Tribune highlighted the experiences of the Castejon family, who left Venezuela in search of a better life in the United States. Michael Castejon, 39, the family’s patriarch, arrived in Chicago with his family, including step-daughter Andrea Carolina Sevilla, five months ago to provide her with improved educational opportunities. Sevilla expressed gratitude for having had the chance to attend school in Venezuela, as many other teenagers there have to work early to support their families.
The Castejon family’s journey in Chicago took them through a police station, a crowded shelter, and a rented house before returning to the same police station where they had begun. Castejon explained that the family had sought asylum in the U.S. due to the extreme poverty under Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, a decision he later regretted.
Castejon remarked, “The American Dream doesn’t exist anymore. There’s nothing here for us. We didn’t know things would be this hard. How many more months of living in the streets will it take? No, no more. It’s better that I leave. At least I have my mother back home.” He emphasized his family’s desire to return home, stating, “If we’re going to be sleeping in the streets here, we’d rather be sleeping in the streets over there.”
According to the Tribune, the Castejon family is just one example of migrants who have chosen to leave Chicago in recent weeks in pursuit of a better life, whether it be warmer weather, greater resources, or reunification with friends and family in other locations.
The article noted, “One family of five left for Detroit because another migrant told them there was work there. One man went back to Texas, where he will join his cousins after trying his luck in Chicago. In the past month, at least 40 people … have left Chicago.”
Jose Nauh, 22 years old, ventured to Chicago in search of shelter, food, and public benefits but found that the reality fell short of his expectations. After spending over two weeks sleeping in a Chicago police station, he was fortunate to have family in Houston to return to.
Diana Vera, another migrant, left Chicago with her three children and daughter-in-law, heading to Detroit, another sanctuary city, in the hopes of finding employment and support from a cousin upon arrival. She, too, was discouraged from staying in Chicago any longer after hearing about crowded shelters, subpar food, and a lack of proper beds from other migrants.
Ana, a Venezuelan teacher who arrived in Chicago in September, shared her perspective: “Like many people, we’re just here for a better life.” She came to the Windy City because she couldn’t make ends meet on her income back home. Ana expressed her desire for Chicago to remain a sanctuary city and to provide resources for immigrants like herself.
However, the aspirations of individuals like Ana may face opposition from some Chicago residents who argue against the city’s sanctuary city status. They contend that taxpayer funds intended for unlawful border crossers should be redirected to benefit city residents.