CHICAGO – State Rep. Lilian Jimenez released the following statement Tuesday regarding reports that members of the Chicago Police Department were under investigation for alleged sexual abuse of recent migrants:
“The recent reports of multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against police officers involving recently arrived migrants seeking shelter and emergency services at Chicago police stations are unacceptable. This horrific revelation serves to remind us that police stations are not suitable shelters for people escaping violence and turmoil nor any Chicagoan seeking emergency services. CPD is a department that is five years into a federal consent decree that has found a police culture that routinely violates the constitutional rights of Black and Latino Chicagoans. And let us not forget more recent incidents —like the CPD raid that left social worker Anjanette Young handcuffed while naked and pleading for help while officers looked on.
“It is abundantly clear that police stations should not be receiving sites for vulnerable migrants seeking shelter. However, when Texas resumed its busing of migrants to Chicago our shelter system became overwhelmed. In the last three weeks alone, 32 buses have arrived in Chicago, including large numbers of women and children seeking asylum and emergency services. Hospitals and police stations are typically designated as safe havens by Chicago officials; yet in March of this year, Chicago area hospitals stopped serving as safe havens, pushing more and more migrants and homeless individuals into police stations to await emergency services.
“Last year, when I was the head of the Illinois Welcoming Centers, Illinois provided a model of how we treat asylum seekers with dignity and respect by providing wrap-around services and housing assistance. We built the systems and implemented the trauma-informed support systems needed — and more specifically worked with experienced immigrant-serving social service agencies and trained social service workers to provide culturally competent services.
“In light of these unacceptable allegations of police abuse of newly arrived migrants, I’m committed to working with my colleagues in the state legislature, the Illinois Department of Human Services and the newly appointed City of Chicago Deputy Mayor of Immigrant, Migrant and Refugee Rights to build upon Illinois’ welcoming efforts to ensure that social service alternatives and suitable shelters are available for all Chicagoans seeking emergency services.”