Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
Over the past five months since arriving in Chicago, Andrea Carolina Sevilla’s parents have been unable to enroll her in school even though the reason they left everything behind in their native Venezuela was for her to have access to better education.
In Venezuela, she said, she was lucky she could even attend school. Many other teenagers start working at an early age to help out their families, who often face extreme poverty.
But she did not have the same luck in the city that she once dreamed of visiting. The family went from sleeping on the floor of a police station, to a crowded shelter, to a house on the Far South Side, and then back to the floor of the police station after her stepfather Michael Castejon, 39, couldn’t afford the rent. He could not find a job that paid enough without a work permit, he said.
On Nov. 3, they set out to go back to Texas. And from there, they would go to Venezuela, the country they fled to seek asylum in the United States. They’re among the countless number of migrants who have chosen to leave Chicago in recent weeks in their search for a better life. They’re looking for warmer weather, more resources or to reunite with friends and family in other places.
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, including Sevilla’s family, have left Chicago from the 1st District station on the Near South Side with the help of Catholic Charities of Chicago.
“The American Dream doesn’t exist anymore,” said Castejon as he laid on a blanket on the bare floor of the station the afternoon before they left. “There’s nothing here for us,” he added.