Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Coverage roundup: Pritzker defends state’s response to migrant housing, has ‘concerns’ about Chicago’s tent plan
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Coverage roundup: Pritzker defends state’s response to migrant housing, has ‘concerns’ about Chicago’s tent plan

Friday, Sep 29, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* NBC Chicago

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Thursday said he continues to have concerns about Chicago’s plan to set up winter tent basecamps for an increasing number of asylum-seekers from South America and suggested officials may seek to offer shelters in unused buildings instead.

After Mayor Brandon Johnson announced last week a one-year, $29.4 million contract with GardaWorld Federal Services to set up a camp, Pritzker’s office said it addressed concerns around “cultural competency” by holding meetings with officials from the company and city.

Pritzker said the city could instead create shelters in existing, unused buildings. He said the federal government could offer buildings, but the state and federal governments haven’t yet identified any.

“I have concerns about it, and we continue to have conversations about it,” Pritzker told reporters after his keynote address at a cannabis business conference in downtown Chicago.

* Sun-Times

After Mayor Brandon Johnson announced last week a one-year, $29.4 million contract with GardaWorld Federal Services to set up a camp, Pritzker’s office said it addressed concerns around “cultural competency” by holding meetings with officials from the company and 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,” Pritzker said.

The state has a contract with GardaWorld through the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, but it’s never been used at the state level, Pritzker said. However, the contract can be used by counties and cities, as Chicago has.

Although GardaWorld is a controversial choice — the company has been accused of mistreating migrant children at the border and labor trafficking — the state has few options for companies that provide emergency services and can construct shelters on short notice, Pritzker said.

* ABC Chicago

A few blocks up the street on South Halsted Street in Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez’s ward, a big empty warehouse is about to become another Pilsen shelter. Members of City Council say it’s time for the state of Illinois to do more

“The state has been very slow, and, in my opinion, negligent on their response, and I think the leadership of the governor is critical right now,” Sigcho-Lopez said.

Pritzker defended his response to the migrant crisis.

“The city has received not just resources from the state, but people, personnel and a whole lot of effort during the last year,” he said.

Pritzker said the state has given the city close to $330 million to help with the crisis, but Council members say more than money is needed. While the state was putting migrants in hotels at the beginning of the crisis, it is no longer.


Gov. Pritzker responded to democratic mayor of El Paso sending migrants to Chicago:

“[He] needs to listen to the cities that he’s sending folks to and start thinking about whether or not this should be spread across the country. Why is he not sending anybody to Idaho, Wyoming?” […]

The state said it’s working on one shelter. The governor’s office stated it had plans for that shelter dating back to the Lightfoot administration, but the city didn’t take the state up on its offer until a few weeks ago.

The Illinois governor also stated that he has spoken with the Department of Homeland Security and the White House to seek assistance.

* Center Square

At an unrelated event in Chicago Thursday, Pritzker blamed Republican governors, but was confronted with even Democratic El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser sending migrants.

“You know that they’re sending, nope, they’re doing it because they’re sending them to areas where they think that people will take care of them and where people will put the resources forward because this is a humanitarian crisis,” Pritzker said. “But the reality is that states that are controlled by Republicans ought to be offering the same services.” […]

At an unrelated news conference Thursday, Pritzker asked other communities from throughout the state to volunteer.

“I hope that cities will raise their hands and offer assistance,” Pritzker said. “We have provided grant opportunities for cities that will do that.”


  1. - Stephanie Kollmann - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 10:41 am:

    How many officials in places with potential community language supports and housing has the governor’s office met with in the past 6 months?

  2. - New Day - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 10:53 am:

    Tents in a 20 degree blizzard. What could possibly go wrong.

  3. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 10:56 am:

    I don’t think Lori Lightfoot’s “blame the state” strategy is going to work.

  4. - Hannibal Lecter - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 11:09 am:

    We should be sending a bill to Texas.

  5. - Hannibal Lecter - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 11:11 am:

    Or better yet, Federal legislation that states that if a state sends Migrants to another state, then their share of federal funds will be reduced by the amount needed by the state receiving the migrants and sent to that state.

    Probably a poorly worded idea, but I think you get the concept.

  6. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 11:13 am:

    My take on this, it’s a longer view, I grant you, is the governors of the border states, while including California (a border state in that given) New York, and Illinois, and force the Feds to have fully functioning staging areas where in WEEKS processing can happen and conclude and then with complete cooperation and acceptance, place like… Illinois… can get shelter, help in work, and try best to make these transfers helpful, even economically to workforce.

    All that wishing wasted, to this post,

    Enough is enough to the “no one called” or “why don’t they”


    Johnson needs to realize he’s mayor of the 3rd largest city in America in a crisis that needs the governor of the 5th largest state in America working together to get basic, essential needs met, and streamline communication, policy, and action in concert with not the state and the city… get together “yesterday”, take help, find and allocate resources, and stop the bickering.

    Only the Feds can print money, so it would behoove all parties to stop empowering Abbott in Texas and either work around his choices or work with the idea that Abbott can look good if we all look good in helping humans.

  7. - tobor - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 11:36 am:

    Tents, a third world solution.

  8. - Rudy’s teeth - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 11:51 am:

    Brandon Johnson should brush up on a little Chicago history…the blizzard of 1979 and the end of Michael Bilandic’s political career as Mayor of Chicago.

    Imagine the chaos if migrants were trapped in tents. Might be time to consider another option. Repurpose vacant buildings with renovations completed by the Building Trades.

  9. - Chito - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 11:53 am:

    Apropos of nothing but the Pilsen shelter on south Halsted will be right next door to SEIU HQ.

  10. - Jerry - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 11:54 am:

    C’mon Guv Pritzker. The reason why the “republicans” are doing this is because they have to own the libs. No legislative solutions.

    The worst offender is the guv’nor of Texas, she’s the worst.

  11. - Telly - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 12:02 pm:

    We covered the media’s weird focus on using McCormick Place as a shelter yesterday. That jogged my memory about the former Metro South and Westlake hospitals, which were to serve as overflow locations if McCormick Place filled up with covid patients. Millions were spent getting both those shuttered facilities ready, but I don’t believe they were ever used for covid patients. Unlike McCormick Place, Metro South is still empty. Don’t know about Westlake. Have they been considered as migrant shelters?

  12. - RedRepublican65 - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 12:34 pm:

    The last I checked, Wyoming and Idaho have not declared themselves Sanctuary States, unlike Illinois.

  13. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 12:44 pm:

    ===Unlike McCormick Place, Metro South is still empty. … Have they been considered as migrant shelters?===

    I checked and the state doesn’t own it any longer.

  14. - Blanche - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 12:50 pm:

    Why is everyone questioning where the migrants are being sent? I thought it was very clear that they are going to the very helpful, virtuous declared Sanctuary Cities and States. Never thought it would come to this, did ya?

  15. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 12:56 pm:

    === where===

    No, please keep up or wise up;

    It’s “how” they are being sent, without purposeful coordination and humanity toward people… and “when”, choosing to arbitrarily send people at times to create chaos to make a point to own the Libs at the cost of humanity.

    Now, you may know this as you think your thought is cunning, but what it highlights is how you little you think about human beings, and your lack of character and compassion.

    But, I’m sure you felt good owning… whomever it is that needs owning

  16. - What's the point? - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 1:03 pm:

    OW - the narrative migrants are being “tricked” on to buses to IL was dropped long ago. Migrants know IL is a Sanctuary State. Migrants have heard IL offers free healthcare to non citizens. Migrants are grateful for free transpiration from the border to IL. You’re the only one talking about “owning” anyone.

  17. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 1:06 pm:

    ===Migrants have heard IL offers free healthcare to non citizens===

    We covered this the other day. They’re covered by the federal government. That’s not on the state.

    Try to keep up, or at least try to lose some of your goofy DC talking points.

  18. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 1:11 pm:


    I said no such thing. You know that because of your ignorance to what I did say…

    === It’s “how” they are being sent, without purposeful coordination and humanity toward people…===

    That’s places like Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, all working with places like Illinois to coordinate moving in a humanitarian way.

    You know I typed that but your mouth breathing to this phony idea that it’s about “tricked” is a tell, friend. You are dishonest to a discussion here.

    === You’re the only one talking about “owning” anyone.===

    Here’s what was typed…

    ===Migrants know IL is a Sanctuary State. Migrants have heard IL offers free healthcare to non citizens. Migrants are grateful for free transpiration from the border to IL.===

    “What’s your point”, LOL

    Here’s mine…

    ===I thought it was very clear that they are going to the very helpful, virtuous declared Sanctuary Cities and States. Never thought it would come to this, did ya?===

    It’s to own the Libs to get them here, not to help in a humanitarian way the immigrants while helping the state in this endeavor too.

    Anything else?

  19. - Rudy’s teeth - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 1:39 pm:

    Brandon Johnson surrounds himself with individuals who lack experience in short and long term planning to address the migrant crisis.

    Yes, this is a unique situation but there are individuals in the business and philanthropic communities who might assist the mayor with some direction going forward.

    If only Johnson will listen to advice and not bend to the loudest voices. This crisis needs expertise along with empathy towards the migrants.

  20. - bob - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 2:19 pm:

    Look for the obvious there is a vast unused building at 76 and Pulaski that stretches for a mile east to past kedzie. During world war two B29 engines were built in that complex.Later Tucker motors used it for their plant.Most of us have been in a tiny part called Ford City mall.Use that place who the hell wants to be in a tent in Chicago in January.

  21. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 2:30 pm:

    ===Look for the obvious===

    Simple solutions are usually neither. That facility is in Rep. Angelica Guerrero-Cuellar’s district. She’s already stopped one site (K-Mart). And the 18th Ward alderperson is a migrant opponent.

    This is a government, not a business. That means decisions require buy-ins. It’s also why the city needs to phase out these big shelters and put people in housing.

  22. - Chris in ChiTown - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 3:51 pm:

    I always enjoy reading comments written by people who don’t read the newspaper stories or see the TV news segments. Asylum seekers don’t have a few thousand dollars to get bus tickets to Illinois and buy luxurious meals. Everyone have a good weekend.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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