Capitol Fax.com - 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’
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*** 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.

       

36 Comments
  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:

    https://news.wttw.com/2020/05/01/field-hospital-mccormick-place-will-close-after-treating-few-patients-curve-bends


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

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

    LOLOL

    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.

    http://Bit.ly/ChicagoFlow

    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: https://twitter.com/CDRosa/status/1707541734551433366
    “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.


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