Migrant Family Rejects ‘American Dream,’ Returns To Venezuela

It has been a difficult journey for Andrea Carolina Sevilla’s family since they arrived in Chicago from Venezuela. Their journey has been defined by struggles to access education, stable housing, and understanding immigration laws.

Their time in Chicago has forced them to make the difficult decision to relocate back to Venezuela. When they first arrived, the family struggled to enroll Andrea into school, and they had to resort to sleeping in the hallway of a police station, overcrowded shelters, and temporary housing in the far South Side of Chicago.

However, their financial difficulties were made worse when Michael Castejon, Andrea’s stepfather, was not able to find a job — forcing them back to the police station floor until November 3, when the Castejons left Chicago for Venezuela.

This decision reflects a growing trend of migrants relocating from Chicago looking for better prospects, warmer climates, and more resources. Just like many other immigrants who are leaving sanctuary cities, Castejon believes, “The American Dream doesn’t exist anymore. There’s nothing here for us.”

The truth was that the city was on the verge of breaking down and there was a lot of resistance from many residents against letting in more migrants. For the past month, at least 40 people, including Sevilla’s family, have left the 1st District station on the Southside through Catholic Charities of Chicago.

The organization has used state funds to help with the relocation of migrants to other states to ease the humanitarian crisis in Chicago while also helping them to be reunited with their families.

Even with the rise of recent departures, immigrants continue to flock to the city in droves. Since August 2022, over 17,000 migrants have converged on Chicago, a sanctuary city. The struggles of Castejon’s family with homelessness and failed employment prospects serve to highlight the struggles that many immigrants face.

The arrival and relocation of more migrants pose a substantial dilemma for the city, as over 2,000 immigrants have been given money to move to other states. The use of taxpayer money for transport by Catholic Charities of Chicago and its chapters from San Antonio and Denver, reveals how much the migrant issue is now intertwined within itself.

To date, more than 20,700 migrants have crossed into Chicago since Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) bussed migrants to sanctuary cities in his protest against federal immigration policies. Castejon’s disenchantment with the city and the unfulfilled promises contradicts his initial determination to conquer the city and reflects so many other illegal immigrants’ experiences.

They all share the same ordeal of living in deplorable conditions, sleeping on wet mattresses, living in cramped tents, and not having access to enough food. The situation only becomes more dire as winter approaches, leaving migrants like Castejon with no other choice but to give up on the ever more elusive ‘American Dream.’