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Pritzker says state and city looking into whether asylum seekers willingly boarded Texas buses

Wednesday, Sep 14, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Mayor Lori Lightfoot today about the way Texas is transporting asylum seekers to Chicago

I believe that they have been misled and the only option for them that they’ve been presented to by the folks in Texas is a free bus ride, because they’re not providing any other option to them to go elsewhere into the country where many of them would prefer to go.

* Gov. Pritzker was then asked whether the Texas governor’s actions could be considered human trafficking or even kidnapping…

Pritzker: Well, we are still examining and interviewing the folks who have come to Illinois and listening to their stories about whether or not they willingly got on these buses, knew where they were going or given the information appropriate. And the legal authorities in the state of Illinois, specifically our Attorney General, the General Counsel’s Office in the governor’s office, the Corporation Council for the City of Chicago, all looking into whether or not there is criminal liability for what they’ve done.

Q: Well, we heard that they signed waivers, they knew exactly where they’re going. Some wanted to go to Chicago, because they had family members in the surrounding states. So you’re saying that some might have been kidnapped?

Pritzker: I’m suggesting to you that someone signed a piece of paper, if it was in English and they don’t speak English, if it was in Spanish and they don’t read or write, that’s not an appropriate way for the governor of Texas to release himself from liability.

Q: [Paraphrasing because audio was poor: Is there any type of legal action the state could take to stop the governor of Texas from sending migrants here?]

Pritzker: We’re absolutely looking into all of those options. But let’s be clear, we are going to take care of the people who are on the buses when they arrive in Illinois. The question of what consequence comes to the governor of Texas or to the state of Texas is another question together, but we’re working on it.

* Anyway, on to the press release…

Governor JB Pritzker today issued an emergency disaster proclamation and activated approximately 75 members of the Illinois National Guard to ensure all state resources are available to support asylum seekers arriving nearly daily to Chicago from the State of Texas. The proclamation enables the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and other state agencies, in close coordination with the City of Chicago, Cook County, and other local governments, to ensure the individuals and families receive the assistance they need. This includes transport, emergency shelter and housing, food, health screenings, medical assessments, treatments, and other necessary care and services.

“Today, I signed a disaster proclamation allowing the state to speed up the procurement of the immediate resources needed to help Chicago, Cook County, and other jurisdictions provide humanitarian assistance to the asylum seekers who are being sent to our state with no official advance notice by the Governor of Texas,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Let me be clear: while other states may be treating these vulnerable families as pawns, here in Illinois, we are treating them as people.”

The proclamation is necessary to ensure sufficient capacity to meet the needs of more than 500 asylum seekers who have arrived already, with more buses arriving nearly every day. The robust statewide response will include IEMA, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). IEMA has also established a Unified Area Command in Chicago to quickly deploy resources to support the operations.

The groups of migrants arriving via Texas are residing in the United States legally, proceeding through the legal immigration and asylum seeking process. They are often fleeing dangerous and perilous situations, and mostly coming from Central and South America.

At the southern border, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol conducts biometric screenings – including facial and fingerprints – that are cross-checked against terrorist watch lists and criminal databases. New arrivals also undergo health screenings at the border as well as additional screenings once they reach Chicago.

Many of the families and individuals seeking asylum, who began arriving in Chicago on August 31, faced long and difficult journeys from their homes. Some require medical care, including pre-natal care for pregnant women; treatment for malnourishment, dehydration, and asthma in children; foot injury and wound care; vaccinations; and chronic health condition management. They are also in need of mental health assessments and care to begin to recover from the traumas experienced on their journey.

“Illinois is a welcoming beacon of hope for all who are seeking a home and stability here,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “The asylum seekers arriving to our state deserve care, compassion, and dignity, because that is what any person pursuing a better life for themselves and their families would want. We will stand with them by continuing efforts to provide the care and services they need to move forward.”

To date, the State of Texas has been transporting asylum-seeking families and individuals to Illinois with no advance notice and with no coordination with the State of Illinois or the City of Chicago. The buses have been directed to drop their passengers at Union Station in Downtown Chicago despite requests from State and City officials that travelers be brought to Welcome Centers. Gov. Pritzker has repeatedly called on Texas to treat these asylum seekers with dignity, to open the lines of communication with his office, and to stop trying to manufacture chaos for political purposes.

       

39 Comments
  1. - Hot Taeks - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 12:30 pm:

    It’s very very very likely human and sex trafficking. The TX Gov sees it as getting money back for his investment. Sick person.


  2. - Commissar Gritty - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 12:37 pm:

    Been wondering about the Human Trafficking element of this the whole time. Governor Abbott, and the Republican Party as a whole, are eager to remind the American electorate just how unsympathetic, uncaring, and xenophobic they are.

    I honestly don’t know how anyone can look in a mirror these days and proudly call themselves a Republican. They are mask-off monsters and they’re not even trying to hide it anymore.


  3. - phocion - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 12:37 pm:

    The Governor of Illinois is looking to have the Governor of Texas arrested for a crime? This should be interesting.


  4. - Norseman - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 12:42 pm:

    It will be interesting to see what they come up with, however a news report indicated that the bussed folks they talked to agreed.

    Then again, the MAGA GOP doesn’t believe in the news.


  5. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 12:45 pm:

    “And the legal authorities in the state of Illinois…looking into whether or not there is criminal liability for what they’ve done.

    Clever dodge to move the issue away from the mass influx of migrants at the “closed” border.


  6. - NIU Grad - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 12:49 pm:

    The GOP is willing to use human lives as political pawns. The party is gone.

    Despite the fact that GOPers see this as a “trolling” move, how is this not an economic win for Illinois? Our population is growing during a period when we have more available jobs than workers? Sounds like good news to me. Despite the fact that it’s the right moral decision, this will end up being an overall win for the state. Every time Illinois has become a home for asylum seekers in our history, it has resulted in stronger local communities.


  7. - Larry Bowa Jr. - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 1:04 pm:

    “Well, we heard that they signed waivers, they knew exactly where they’re going.”

    Wow, great journalism right there. “Some republicans fed us their talking points which we were of course obligated to take at face value. How do you respond to the talking points?”


  8. - Red Ranger - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 1:05 pm:

    Curious why the IL State Board of Education isn’t listed as a part of the multi-agency response?


  9. - Pundent - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 1:13 pm:

    =Clever dodge to move the issue away from the mass influx of migrants at the “closed” border.=

    Legal asylum seekers. Now if you believe that such a thing shouldn’t exist then by all means say so. But there’s a reason why we allow asylum seekers entry into our country. And you might want to check your math on the “mass influx.” The numbers are at historic lows not seen in years.


  10. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 1:13 pm:

    ===Wow, great journalism right there===

    I think it was Amy.


  11. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 1:22 pm:

    ==It’s very very very likely human and sex trafficking.==

    I’d tap the brakes on this. I think it’s likely that the vast majority of this migrants are exactly what Texas purports that they are. I can list a dozen reasons why they’d rather be in IL than TX.

    That being said, TX could probably clear all that up just by actually picking up the phone when IL calls.


  12. - Papa2008 - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 1:33 pm:

    If the governor and mayor really want to get in front of this, they should send empty buses to the border. Takes all the wind right out of the Texas sails.


  13. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 1:34 pm:

    “And you might want to check your math on the “mass influx.” The numbers are at historic lows not seen in years”

    Official CBP data - Southwest land border encounters - points to a massive increase in encounters over the past two years.

    https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/stats/southwest-land-border-encounters


  14. - Blake - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 1:38 pm:

    NIU Grad, not an economic win without work permits


  15. - phocion - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 1:39 pm:

    ===Wow, great journalism right there===

    ==I think it was Amy.==

    Because a reporter should just accept any accusation that a Democrat makes against a Republican.


  16. - SaulGoodman - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 1:41 pm:

    Blake — you don’t think that there are undocumented folks working, spending money, and paying taxes?


  17. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 1:45 pm:

    Governor Abbott will be holding a joint press conference with State Senator Bailey, at which time Abbott will produce the signed waivers and Bailey will disclose the names of the rabbis who told him legal abortion is much worse than the Holocaust.


  18. - Da big bad wolf - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 1:45 pm:

    === NIU Grad, not an economic win without work permits===

    Asylum seekers can legally work after they get approved or 180 days, whichever comes first.


  19. - ArchPundit - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 1:51 pm:

    ===Curious why the IL State Board of Education isn’t listed as a part of the multi-agency response?

    Kids need to be enrolled and ISBE can direct them to districts with adequate ELL resources.


  20. - ArchPundit - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 1:52 pm:

    ===I can list a dozen reasons why they’d rather be in IL than TX.

    Several had families in the region for example.


  21. - Red Ranger - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 1:57 pm:

    Arch, Im sure that is exactly how the Gov and MLL are handling this. Burr Ridge and Elk Grove Village are known for their ELL programs. Im 100% certain the Governors office and the Mayors office reached out to the schools to coordinate before sending the families to those cities, because it would of course be hypocritical for them to complain about the lack of coordination with Texas and then not coordinate with the cities and school districts that will be receiving these families.


  22. - MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 2:05 pm:

    “I think it was Amy.”

    Amy puts the “pool” in “press pool.”

    – MrJM


  23. - Pundent - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 2:20 pm:

    =points to a massive increase in encounters over the past two years.=

    This has been covered previously. Encounters aren’t the same as an influx. Net immigration has gone from north of 1M individuals to roughly 250K. A figure that hasn’t been seen in decades.

    https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2021/12/net-international-migration-at-lowest-levels-in-decades.html


  24. - 48th Ward Heel - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 2:24 pm:

    Because he’s as cheap as he is mean, the governor of Texas has been putting these poor people on buses without restroom facilities or food or water, a fact I don’t believe was advertised beforehand. I’m not sure what the port of entry was in the very large state of Texas , but I read somewhere that it was about 12 hours to Chicago, and much longer to DC and New York.

    That’s bad enough if they agreed to it, but if they were tricked or threatened onto those buses? Well, you can’t do that to prisoners…


  25. - ArchPundit - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 2:33 pm:

    == it would of course be hypocritical for them to complain about the lack of coordination with Texas and then not coordinate with the cities and school districts that will be receiving these families.

    Mind you, I’m not saying it’s effective, but that’s the reasoning. ;) But given towns and districts are separate governments ISBE is a better fit than a mayor for that portion. Burr Ridge isn’t necessarily or even likely the place where most of the refugees will settle with some having family and others being placed where permanent housing and work options are available. Burr Ridge is just a temporary site. I don’t know how many of the Afghans ended up in Burr Ridge, but my guess is it was small proportion of the total.


  26. - DuPage - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 2:34 pm:

    === not an economic win without work permits ===

    Some jobs may require that, but with the worker shortage, they will find work one way or another. Generally, employers like them as most of them are good hard-working people supporting their families.


  27. - Politix - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 2:44 pm:

    Really. And here I thought Texas treated its refugees with the utmost kindness and respect. /end snark


  28. - Techie - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 3:04 pm:

    I wonder at what point the GOP will contend with the fact that, if not for immigration, America’s population would be decreasing due to our low birth rate.


  29. - Bob Meter - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 3:35 pm:

    The state and especially the city of Chicago need to welcome all of the immigrants with open arms and all necessary assistance. It’s just not right to claim we are such a welcoming state and then complain how they are arriving. I’m very disappointed in the governor and mayor of Chicago not stepping up to the plate and helping all with wide open arms.


  30. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 3:36 pm:

    ===not stepping up to the plate and helping===

    Um, they appear to be doing that.


  31. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 3:50 pm:

    ==The state and especially the city of Chicago need to welcome all of the immigrants with open arms and all necessary assistance.==

    They are, though.


  32. - New Day - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 3:56 pm:

    “Um, they appear to be doing that.”

    Of course they are. Bob Meter, you seem to have trouble understanding that we can complain about how Texas is using these people are political pawns at the same time we do everything possible to provide the services and treat them with respect. Illinois is doing both.


  33. - New Day - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 3:56 pm:

    “I think it was Amy.”

    I’m shocked. Shocked I say.


  34. - Homebody - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 4:45 pm:

    Did anyone ask about the ramifications of when Biden was bussing immigrants, especially children, across the country in the middle of the night with no notification to the state governments so they could coordinate? Would his administration’s actions be accused of human trafficking?


  35. - Big Dipper - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 4:48 pm:

    Nice whataboutism, Homebody.


  36. - AD - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 5:19 pm:

    Personally think that Pritzker and Lightfoot are playing right into Abbott’s hands with their response. Texas has been dealing with migrants coming in with no notice and it’s not a worry for the the Democratic party because it’s happening in a red state. A couple buses come into Chicago and all of a sudden the politicians who have been claiming it a sanctuary city are calling it a crisis. They look like a bunch of phony’s with these responses.


  37. - Jocko - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 6:18 pm:

    ==Texas has been dealing with migrants coming in with no notice==

    They don’t seem to mind when work needs to get done…then call ICE right before payday.


  38. - Da big bad wolf - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 7:37 pm:

    === A couple buses come into Chicago and all of a sudden the politicians who have been claiming it a sanctuary city are calling it a crisis. They look like a bunch of phony’s with these responses.===

    Since these migrants are legal it’s irrelevant that the state is “sanctuary” or not.


  39. - Joe - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 10:51 pm:

    Looking forward to seeing TX Gov comments on Gov P calling out ILL Nat’l Guard Troops and declaring Emergeny required to deal with TX immigrants.


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