A Brief Note: In 2024, we are moving our monthly Zoom meetings to the second Thursday of every month at noon (Central Time). During these meetings, we share updates about ICDI and our programs. Everyone is welcome to attend to learn more about our work and to ask our staff questions. You will receive reminders to register the week of the meeting.
 Next meeting: Thursday, February 8th

As we embark on a new year filled with hope and purpose, we take a moment to reflect on the incredible journey we’ve shared together. Your unwavering support, dedication, and generosity have been the driving force behind ICDI’s impact, making a lasting difference in the lives of newcomers in Illinois.

We met our Year-End Drive’s matching donation goal! To our cherished donors, your commitment to our cause has been nothing short of extraordinary. Your financial contributions have empowered us to reach new heights and expand our reach, enabling us to touch the lives of even more newly-arrived asylum seekers.

Thank you to ALL our donors, supporters, and volunteers for energizing ICDI’s impact in 2023. As we express our deepest gratitude, we also want to share our excitement for the year ahead. Your support for our mission inspires us daily, and we look forward to continuing this incredible journey together into 2024.

With heartfelt thanks and warm regards,

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Migrant News

As of January 10th, according to the City of Chicago data, 30,043 migrants arrived from Texas. The city currently has a shelter population of 14,599. 592 people are awaiting placement in shelters, six are waiting at police stations, 262 are waiting at O’Hare airport, and 324 are waiting at the landing zone.

To avoid people dying in the cold weather, the City of Chicago has started using warming buses to help keep people awaiting placement from freezing in the cold temperatures.

CTA Warming Buses
Chicago Warming Buses - Kamil Krzaczynski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Despite our city’s new ordinance forcing Texas Operation Lone Star bus companies to better communicate before a drop-off, Governor Abbott continues to create chaos by picking random suburban areas like Aurora, Buffalo Grove, Kankakee, Hinsdale, Elmhurst, McHenry, Lombard, and others for drop off without any coordination or communication with local governments. Several buses have shown up unannounced at different locations with people onboard who were given train tickets for a free ride to the landing zone in downtown Chicago.

To sow chaos in addition to the buses, at the end of the year, Governor Abbott started to send private planes to Chicago, making it even more challenging for our city to have time to process the people awaiting placement in shelters.

Community Partnerships

Catholic Lawyers Guild

Catholic Lawyers Guild Logo - Red background with a white arch or portal - inside the portal are a black serifed cross with CLG arranged at bottom.

This month, two parishes and their pastors embraced the CLG proposal to help house one migrant family per church. ICDI will work with the CLG to provide case management services, while NIJC (National Immigrant Justice Center) will provide legal support.

According to the group, Fr. Alejandro is currently housing a Venezuelan couple and their four young children in the former rectory of his Parish. Fr. Mike is housing another Venezuelan couple and their two young children in the former rectory of his parish.

ICDI is infinitely grateful to the CLG members for following through with Cardinal Cupich and their parishes to join forces to help us in our mission to provide more support to the new arrivals during such a difficult time.

Hanover Park Community

Pastor Elias Cabarcas from the Hanover Park Presbyterian Church organized a small event on Christmas Eve for the migrant families living near there . ICDI has played an instrumental role in helping many members of that group since August 2022, when the first bus arrived in Chicago. The community continues to grow by the day as many leaving the shelter find their way to a better support system and form a family. This group is a testament to the impact ICDI has on our communities. The Interact Club at the York High School donated toys to migrant children.

Gifts for Migrant Children - York High School - Interact Club

100+ Women Who Care

100+ Women Who Care nominated ICDI and picked us as the winner at a fundraiser event organized by this group of wonderful women in Elmhurst. We are infinitely grateful to have the support of such a lovely community.

100+ Women Who Care with our Board Vice President, Pat Motto, and Johannes

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

ICDI is partnering with the University of Illinois at Urbana to conduct a survey and provide a free citizenship class to migrants living in the US. They also get a chance to win an Amazon gift card. Participants will get paid $5 after completing three surveys. To participate, you must be a resident of the state of Illinois, must be 18 years or older, and have access to the Internet.

Please help us spread the word! Registration is open now until February 1st.

ICDI in the News

Johannes in an interview with CBS News. News weather banner and radar images at the bottom of the picture.
Johannes being interviewed by CBS Chicago

Please help us continue this excellent work by donating today or volunteering your time. Our teams are working extremely hard at the Greyhound station, the shelter, and in our Chicagoland neighborhoods as Chicago continues to see volumes of new arrivals.

With gratitude,
Johannes Favi 

ICDI Welcome & Essentials Team

The Welcome and Essentials Team welcomed 34 asylum seekers at the Greyhound station. With the overwhelming support of our donors and volunteers, we provided our participants with clothing, coats, and winter essentials such as hats, gloves, and scarves. We are grateful to our donors and volunteers who have worked tirelessly with the Welcome and Essentials Team to help us keep our storage stocked and organized.

The Welcome and Essentials Team continued to conduct intakes at the 12th district throughout the month.

The team also worked closely with the Public Defender’s Office of Cook County and organized a workshop with our Partners at the SOS Children’s Village near the 12th District. The workshop was set up to educate migrants about the difference between criminal and immigration law. Twenty-three participants attended the workshop and had a chance to interact and ask questions at the end of the training

Large room with wood slat ceiling and a blue wall. Workshop participants spread around white tables.
ICDI Workshop with the Public Defender's Office

The city decompressed the 12th district police station mid-month, and we have since stopped conducting intakes and needs assessments there. However, we continue to provide essential items like coats and winter accessories to the migrants who are still in the tent city outside the police station.

Hernandez Middle School collected, organized, and donated hygiene kits and blankets to distribute to migrants. We so appreciate these enterprising and thoughtful students for thinking of asylum seekers and working with ICDI.

Sarah with the Hernandez Middle School Volunteers

We are thankful to our donors and volunteers who have continued supporting our mission to serve asylum seekers in Chicago.

Case Management Update

ICDI at the Afghan Support Center Event

Throughout the four-day event, ICDI actively participated, facilitating direct conversations between the families we support and representatives from IDHS and USCIS. This valuable engagement allowed our families to address their concerns directly. Additionally, our presence at the event allowed us to establish connections with other organizations, potentially paving the way for future collaborations. ICDI remains dedicated to fostering meaningful partnerships and contributing to positive community engagement. We look forward to continued collaboration and making a lasting impact.

Rosa and Evelyn at the ICDI Table with our logo on the front and materials arranged.
Rosa and Evelyn setup our table
Gabby and Evelyn talking with an immigrant at our table.
Gabby and Evelyn discussing ICDI's services

Shelter News: New Short-Term Case Management System

In alignment with the City of Chicago and State policies, we’re announcing the implementation of our revamped Short-Term Case Management program. Residents will now experience a more streamlined process with three essential appointments and a flexible fourth appointment “as needed.”

  • Appointment 1 kicks off with an Initial Assessment and Assistance session.
  • Appointment 2 focuses on Application Assistance for VTTC benefits (Victims of Trafficking, Torture, or other Serious Crimes).
  • Appointment 3 provides Transition Support to enable a smoother journey.
We provide clients with follow-up support on pending applications if needed. With a 60-day period mirroring the shelter policy, this change marks a significant step toward delivering efficient and comprehensive case management services for recent arrivals. The ICDI Case Management Team is dedicated to providing uninterrupted services at the shelter, even with the introduction of our new 3-appointment system. Rest assured, these enhancements are boosting efficiency without compromising service accessibility. Clients can anticipate ongoing support from our committed case management team throughout their stay, guaranteeing a seamless transition and access to vital resources. Our primary goal is to sustain a supportive and flexible approach while making sure everyone has access to essentials like winter clothing, hygienic kits, and services.
Zip-locked hygiene kits arranged on a table with Evelyn holding a kit.
Evelyn with assembled kits for Shelter residents

Expanding our Reach

We’re happy to announce that two new families have recently joined our case management services. As part of our commitment to comprehensive support, one of these families is celebrating the arrival of a new precious baby. Our dedicated case management team is honored to guide and assist these families, ensuring a smooth and supportive transition during this significant chapter. At ICDI, we take pride in extending our services to embrace and empower new families. This new baby’s arrival brings us to a total of four infants in our case management program. These families need essential infant items like diapers, baby wipes, formula, and clothing. Please feel free to check out our Case Management Wishlist, which has been updated to reflect the needs of these families.

A precious new arrival

Christmas for ICDI Families

A classroom of high school students sponsored four of the families that receive case management services from ICDI. They provided gifts for every family member, and the families were excited and grateful for the gifts.

Rosa is Santa!

A Year in Reflection

​I’ve been with ICDI for nearly a year. It’s gone by so fast, and I’ve been observing and reflecting. To be certain, my biggest impression is how much Ed and the entire staff WORK and CARE. So much! It’s challenging to sum up. There’s so much going on and nothing is constant; there is always change. It’s like riding in a car on an unpaved, rutted road: you brace and prepare for the next jolt, but you also try to keep loose and fluid and ready.

Resiliency is the word that describes these wonderful people. They have caringly navigated their way through the ups and downs. Just look at some of the changes and events this past year.

  • Buses and Buses and Buses
  • New Name
  • New Employees
  • Immigrant Art Exhibit
  • Shelters and Police Stations
  • New Website
  • A Spectacular Gala
  • So many speaking engagements

That’s quite a reflection. I kind of want a cookie or something a little stronger. All of this, and only one broken bone. That’s quite a year.