CHiPS Scrambles to Prepare for New Surge of Migrants as End of Title 42 Looms

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Media, Queens, NY

by Jessica Easthope

The lunch rush at Community Help in Park Slope or CHiPS usually ends quickly, but  the challenge of feeding more than 400 people with limited resources starts all over again the next day.

New people come onto the line at CHiPS every day, it could be 10 or 100, director of food services Pauline Auguste says she has no way of knowing – or preparing.

“New York City is being hit very hard at the moment, a lot of soup kitchens are being hit hard, we need help, we need additional help,” she said.

New York City’s migrant crisis has redefined CHiPS’ operation, stretching the food, paid for mostly with private donations, has become a daily juggling act. Pauline says her focus is on the food,  but with Title 42 set to expire by Friday, she can’t ignore the politics any longer.

“Without Title 42 we don’t know how long it can last, we’re being depleted and what are we doing on the federal level to help the situation,” said Pauline.

For three years the Trump-era immigration policy has been used more than 2.7 million times to turn away migrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Venezuela and El Salvador, many have tried several times to gain entry into the United States.

The sign on the Holiday Inn Express just around the corner from CHiPS has been covered up – it’s one of the city’s 120 emergency shelters. Mayor Eric Adams says he needs more for the 61,000 who have settled in the five boroughs – reaching out to city agencies for any available space.

The city has proposed housing migrants in airplane hangars at JFK Airport, tents in Central, Prospect and Flushing Meadows Corona Parks, Citi Field and Aqueduct Racetrack, this as families with young children have been forced to sleep in shelters used to house single men.

“We can’t have kids and adults sleeping in the same shelters that’s not okay and that’s not safe, please just help, I don’t know where you’re going to put these people when they do come, we’re running out of places to put them, we’re going to have a lot of homelessness, I don’t know,” said Pauline.

CHiPS’ promise has always been to turn no one away, but Pauline says even if a fraction of the people who will undoubtedly cross the border when Title 42 ends come to New York City and make their way to Brooklyn – they may have to start.