Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x3 *** Pritzker says he’s ‘expressed concerns’ about the city’s proposed migrant tent camps: ‘I don’t think this is the only option’
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      About     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact Rich Miller
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
*** UPDATED x3 *** Pritzker says he’s ‘expressed concerns’ about the city’s proposed migrant tent camps: ‘I don’t think this is the only option’

Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Gov. Pritzker was asked today about Chicago’s highly controversial contract with GardaWorld to house large numbers of asylum seekers in tents over the winter

I’ve expressed my concerns about it and we continue to have conversations about it. I think it’s something that the city, with a lack of existing buildings to put people in, I know the city has looked at this as one of its options, but I don’t think this is the only option.

And again, we’re attempting to identify other facilities that are already built where we could house migrants. [cross talk] If we have existing facilities, we ought to use all of those that are willing to do it. Including, by the way if there are federal opportunities to do that, great. There are federal buildings that don’t have anybody in them, we haven’t identified any yet and the federal government hasn’t yet, but we’ve asked them even if, you know, even if it’s something that’s a bit inconvenient for the federal government, they need to step up to the plate and I’ve said that repeatedly to the Department of Homeland Security.

Please pardon all transcription errors.

The state has a contract with GardaWorld that the city is piggy-backing on. Pritzker told reporters today that the state has “not yet used that contract.”

* Pritzker was also asked about his conversations with people in the federal government about what he wants them to do

Well, they have the ability to help us and they’ve offered to help and so we’re going to accept whatever it is that they can offer. I will say that it’s not just about money, though. Frankly, we do need reimbursement for the dollars that have already been put forward because we’ve done an awful lot already without a lot of help from the federal government. [crosstalk] It’s not just about money, right? It is also about making sure that we get personnel from the federal government. Because this process. and you can see a little bit of it in New York, we’re doing it here in Chicago and organizing it. It involves immigration attorneys. It involves filing paperwork for people that haven’t already filed paperwork. It involves making sure that we’re identifying peoples’ skills and the jobs that they can fulfill when they get the work authorizations. So there’s a lot that the federal government can help us with along the way. We’re doing it on our own now, but we’ve asked, I have asked the Department [crosstalk] and the Department of Homeland Security and the White House have both heard from me on this subject.

* One press conference attendee asked why the state wasn’t opening up McCormick Place East (Lakeside Center) to the migrants like was done during the pandemic.

What a bizarre question. McCormick Place was shut down during the pandemic. Nobody was going to conventions back then, so they had plenty of room. If you click here, you’ll see that McCormick Place Lakeside Center has several scheduled events.

*** UPDATE 1*** Chicago Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa sent me a text in response…

In addition to opening and operating their own state migrant shelters, New York state reimburses NYC for a third to half of all their migrant-related expenses, we wish we were getting that level of support in Chicago. Would help tremendously.

His tweet was more blunt…

*** UPDATE 2 *** Pritzker spokesperson Jordan Abudayyeh called to say “We have offered to open shelters,” going back to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s tenure. Neither Lightfoot nor Mayor Johnson have taken the state up on the offer, she said, adding that the state has already provided $328 million in state funds.

More in a bit.

*** UPDATE 3 *** Abudayyeh followed up by saying that the city has finally agreed to the state’s turn-key shelter plan for a vacant CVS facility in Little Village.


  1. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 12:31 pm:

    The low hanging fruit to me seems to be supporting organizations that can help migrants from Venezuela fill out TPS applications. That would allow those individuals to work, which would decrease stress on social services overall.

  2. - Just Me 2 - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 12:43 pm:

    Re: McCormick - @Rich you are forgetting that a massive hospital with hundreds of beds was set up at McCormick basically overnight in April 2020. I know because I was there as my employer at the time was contracted to help. Fortunately it was never used, but it is a legit question why that can’t happen again.

  3. - Just Me 2 - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 12:45 pm:

  4. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 12:51 pm:

    ===but it is a legit question why that can’t happen again===


    Again, McCormick Place was CLOSED at the time. The question is not legit. It’s ridiculous and downright stupid.

  5. - Chicagoan - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 1:05 pm:

    If they can be in police station lobbies, why not the state and federal building lobbies?

  6. - Frida's boss - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 1:11 pm:

    Chicago’s got this don’t worry.

  7. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 1:15 pm:

    === why not the state and federal building lobbies? ===

    It’s a good question. Also, why not fire stations? They all have kitchens, showers and beds.

  8. - Stephanie Kollmann - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 1:22 pm:

    Glad to see the governor is not in full support of the idea.

    He could do more about it. And the state could cancel that Garda contract and pursue better ones.

    The issue is not volume of arrivals but a disastrous bottleneck in leaving shelters. People are desperate to leave the shelters! But they cannot receive the state housing voucher supports if they are not in a shelter, and remain stuck.

    Someone from the City told me today that it needs 1) more housing counselors and 2) more landlords to post their housing stock, in order to transition people into housing. Right now they are placing only a few dozen people a week(?! Far fewer than the data on shelter exits suggests - but consistent with people’s intense desire to leave shelter purgatory)

    These things seem like issues the state could step up on from several directions.

  9. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 1:29 pm:

    ===more landlords to post their housing stock===

    The city is doing a horrible job at getting that info. Just horrible.

  10. - Stephanie Kollmann - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 1:37 pm:

    ==The city is doing a horrible job at getting that info. Just horrible.==

    This is what I hear, too.

    Maybe instead of doing outreach to persuade liberals that tents are actually fine, that energy could be spent on outreach to landlords. IDK.

  11. - DuPage Saint - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 1:46 pm:

    I wonder if would be possible just to rent out out entire small hotels throughout the city? It might even be cheaper.

  12. - Jose Abreu's Next Homer - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 1:48 pm:

    My head priest here in Mayfair told me that Cardinal Cupich has offered shuttered Catholic schools to the city to house migrants with a caveat that the city pay for security. I was told they were given the cold shoulder.

  13. - Rudy’s teeth - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 1:58 pm:

    The idea of repurposing shuttered schools might not be popular but it is a viable solution versus having migrants in tents.

    Chicago has a workforce to facilitate the upgrades to schools left vacant…the Building Trades. The men and women who built the homes, apartments, condo complexes, and highrises have the skills and talents to refurbish vacant structures for migrants.

    The idea of tents housing migrants in a city known for its architecture and historic structures…not a viable solution to this situation.

  14. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 2:08 pm:

    ===The idea of repurposing shuttered schools might not be popular ===

    It’s not popular because those schools were closed in Black neighborhoods that were already hollowed out and are even more so now. Turning them into shelters just rubs salt in the wound. Move on already.

  15. - supplied_demand - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 2:26 pm:

    ==The idea of tents housing migrants in a city known for its architecture and historic structures…not a viable solution to this situation. ==

    It is exactly what is happening in NYC, a city also known for buildings and architecture.

  16. - lake county democrat - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 2:27 pm:

    This is how surreal things have got. We won’t house them in shuttered schools in African-American neighborhoods, but we want to give them work permits to compete for jobs at a time when young African-American unemployment was last measured at over 50%? I get how bad the tension is and why the politics dictate it, but the former hurts nobody, the latter does. Meanwhile the buses keep coming. It all goes to show how badly Biden is failing at this (and I otherwise quite like Biden). Mayor Johnson has my sympathies - he’s got winter staring him in the face and while all the suggestions are good, he can’t afford to make the good hostage to the perfect.

  17. - Chicago 20 - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 2:32 pm:

    Thousands of Ukrainian and Afghan refugees are here in Chicago and Illinois.
    They aren’t camping out in tents or police stations lobbies, they aren’t arriving in buses from Texas or Florida.
    We are a nation of immigrants, why are these immigrants treated differently?

  18. - Dotnonymous x - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 2:36 pm:

    Tent citys are apart from The American Dream.

  19. - lake county democrat - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 2:45 pm:

    Chicago 20: Because Ukraine is fighting a proxy war on our behalf, and many Afghanis did the same. Also, most arived here well over a year ago and weren’t dumped in a single location in downtown Chicago.

  20. - sox11 - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 2:54 pm:

    McCormick Place has events scheduled in all its buildings until 2035. There is no room for migrants when the whole campus is booked solid. That is a lot of economic impact provided to the city and the state.

  21. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 3:08 pm:

    ===Ukraine is fighting a proxy war on our behalf, and many Afghanis did the same===

    And the US has imposed sanctions on Venezuela, which have only deepened the problems.

  22. - Stephanie Kollmann - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 3:09 pm:

    LCD, your framing on employment is way off. Jobs and wages are not helped for anyone else, including Black youth, by sustaining an underclass of undocumented workers rather than obtaining work authorization for new arrivals.

  23. - Mark Larson - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 3:43 pm:

    “My head priest here in Mayfair told me that Cardinal Cupich has offered shuttered Catholic schools to the city to house migrants with a caveat that the city pay for security. I was told they were given the cold shoulder.”

    JANH, Catholic Diocese and Charities in Texas are the very ones putting asylum seekers on buses to Chicago. I have personally talked with migrants who went to Catholic shelters and were lied to to get on buses to Chicago. The Chicago Archbishop doesn’t get an award for offering a few schools that couldn’t fit them all after sending thousands to Chicago.

  24. - Steve - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 4:32 pm:

    Alderman Carolos Ramirez-Rosa is vocally unhappy. This is the floor leader/ Chairman of Zoning Committee saying this the Governor of Illinois. Where exactly does Rosa think the money is going to come from? The federal government is running a $2 trillion deficit. The state of Illinois doesn’t have extra cash (pension problems). Who’s taxes are supposed to go up to subsidize poor migrants?

  25. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 4:37 pm:

    ===Neither Lightfoot nor Mayor Johnson have taken the state up on the offer===

    Is the 5th floor bereft of cell phones. email access, and liaisons?

    Here I thought communication out of that new shop would…

  26. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 4:52 pm:

    ===Here I thought communication out of that new shop would…===

    What evidence would ever lead you to think that?

  27. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 4:55 pm:

    === What evidence…===

    Oh. There isn’t any. I find it terribly frustrating that a press shop or IGA Crew that *could* and *should* be in place is as vacant as the answers the governor’s office is looking for.

    It was a new day, no?

  28. - Lamb - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 5:09 pm:

    Update #2 is insightful, I was unaware of this

  29. - Sonny - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 5:11 pm:

    Look out. Failure to properly staff up the Mayor’s Office shots fired.

  30. - Frida's boss - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 5:28 pm:

    Chicago- don’t talk to us about crime, downtown, police, taxes, homeless, public education.
    But you better start ponying up to help us with this and we don’t want your input just your money.

  31. - Wondering - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 5:42 pm:

    Churches have alot of pews that folks could use at night

  32. - New Day - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 5:50 pm:

    It’s my understanding that the fifth floor has one press person. One is the loneliest number and not the number you need in a job that big. 4+ months in and Johnson still hasn’t appointed large swaths of his government. Does he plan to govern or just govern by press release and shots from CRR?

  33. - supplied_demand - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 7:39 pm:

    ==Chicago- don’t talk to us about crime, downtown, police, taxes, homeless, public education.==

    These things are talked about non-stop by everyone. They were the main talking points in the recent election, local news talks about them, national news talks about them, etc.

    What point are you trying to make?

  34. - JC - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 7:53 pm:

    Ramirez-Rosa strenuously disagrees with Updates 2 and 3:
    “The city said yes to the state’s offer to open a shelter at [Little Village] CVS in May. I’m told the state has been dragging to open the shelter. I’m also told the state contracted with GardaWorld to staff the CVS shelter.”

    FWIW, that the city was looking into that very CVS site was widely reported on back in May.

  35. - DuPage - Thursday, Sep 28, 23 @ 8:20 pm:

    Are any of the old Michael Reese buildings still standing and useable? Whatever Chicago does, they have to hurry. If they waste time squabbling over fine print in the contracts or can’t decide whether or not to use tents or vacant schools, they will run out of time.

  36. - Sigh. - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 8:09 am:

    The problem isn’t whether the city has enough abandoned buildings to shelter people, it’s whether it is cost effective for the city to house 50 migrants per location (means you need a lot more buildings, more Favorite Staffing people, more bills for everyone to be mad about) vs. 500 migrants per location (less costs). All in all, state and city are fighting when the only one responsible for this is the federal government since immigration regulation is solely a federal power and they have refused, democrats and republicans alike, to take on substantive immigration reform.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Man arrested for threatening Rep. Keicher (Updated)
* Isabel’s afternoon roundup
* Caption contest!
* Uber Partners With Cities To Expand Urban Transportation
* US Reps. Sean Casten, Chuy Garcia call on President Biden to drop out of race (Updated)
* How the CrowdStrike outage is affecting Illinois (updated)
* Abbott says he will resume migrant busing to Chicago ahead of DNC
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Live coverage
* Selected press releases (Live updates)
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...






Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

July 2024
June 2024
May 2024
April 2024
March 2024
February 2024
January 2024
December 2023
November 2023
October 2023
September 2023
August 2023
July 2023
June 2023
May 2023
April 2023
March 2023
February 2023
January 2023
December 2022
November 2022
October 2022
September 2022
August 2022
July 2022
June 2022
May 2022
April 2022
March 2022
February 2022
January 2022
December 2021
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller