Those arriving by CTA train at O’Hare Airport during the night hours must provide proof that they have “business” there to be allowed in, officials said.
Chicago police officers will ask anyone arriving at the airport via the Blue Line between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. for “proof of airport business,” such as an airline boarding pass or badge, the department said. of Chicago Aviation in a statement.
Those who cannot provide evidence will be removed.
“To ensure a safe environment at O’Hare International Airport, CDA security personnel work with the Chicago Police Department to enforce existing laws, which make it clear that it is illegal to be in Chicago airports without a airport business,” airport agency. said.
The Department of Aviation noted that the policy has been in effect since 2020. As a secure location, O’Hare does not allow members of the public to be at the airport unless they are flying in or out or working there.
It was unclear whether the policy applied to people picking up or dropping off passengers at the airport, but the agency said “all CTA customers exiting a Blue Line station” during those hours will be required to show proof of business.
But enforcement of the policy appeared to have faded earlier in the winter before receiving additional attention in recent months as the number of homeless people seeking shelter at the airport drew national attention and criticism.
In February, Mayor Lori Lightfoot acknowledged the seriousness of the problem, but argued that the conservative media had blown the issue out of proportion.
“We have taken and will continue to take the steps that are necessary to remove people from airports,” she said afterwards. “Airports are a very different place than on the road under an underpass.”
The Haymarket Center’s O’Hare Outreach Program, which connects those experiencing homelessness and seeking shelter at the airport with resources, said that while the number of people seeking shelter at O’Hare in the winter months always increases, the increase has been more high recently.
“We will continue within the law to do what is necessary to provide them with support – but elsewhere. They cannot be at our airports,” the mayor said.
However, the airport agency said enforcement of the policy was renewed because the Blue Line resumed 24-hour service to and from the airport last month. Previously, trains did not run from O’Hare to Rosemont Station between midnight and 4 a.m., a policy that began during the pandemic.
An increased police presence could be seen at the airport in February. Including a cadre of officers stationed at the O’Hare Blue Line station within the airport. They were seen asking people arriving at the airport via the blue line to show their airline tickets or work ID cards, even before 10pm.
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