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Pritzker refuses to criticize Mayor Johnson on migrant issue

Tuesday, Apr 9, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Governor JB Pritzker was asked today about Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson asking the city council to kick in $70 million for asylum seekers during an unrelated press conference

Q: There appears to be a request from the mayor for maybe another $70 million to help with the migrant crisis. Can you just weigh in on the fact it seems like finally maybe the mayor seems to be coming around to kicking in money that you and Cook County have already committed to? Is it about time that they got serious about funding on their side of things?

Pritzker: Look, the city has been working very hard at addressing the crisis of the incoming buses that are being sent here from Texas. I want to commend the city and all the volunteers and all of the workers who have helped us to resettle people or provide temporary shelter and the investment that the city has already made.

We have been working together-the city, the county, the state-since August of 2022 to make sure that we’re providing everything that’s necessary. For people just to get a handle on, you know, they’re in a new place, often don’t speak the language don’t have a place to live, don’t have food that’s provided to them and providing them just basic health care.

And for those who complain about the expenditure that’s being made. Let’s be clear. First, this is just basic needs that people are getting. Nobody’s getting any fancy luxuries out of this, people are arriving and just need a helping hand.

I want to remind you and everybody here, if you didn’t know, that my family arrived with absolutely nothing to this city. Nothing. A social service agency gave them a place to live, they didn’t have one. They started out living in the subbasement of the Chicago train station at the time. My great-grandfather went to a public school, didn’t know how to speak English. By the end of his life, I never met him, but I’m told he spoke what people have described as the King’s English.

So you can imagine the kind of great education that he got in a public school. So all of those things. And again, just taking it all the way back to just arrival, right. He became a lawyer, my great-grandfather, during his lifetime coming from absolutely nothing and being persecuted in his home country.

So think of the people who are arriving here today. First of all, they’re human beings. They deserve to be treated with humanity with care, and to be treated as future contributors to the economy and the greatness of the city of Chicago in the state of Illinois. So we’re doing that and I hope that the governor of Texas will stop treating them as if they’re cattle being pushed on to buses and sent to Chicago and I hope that we will have a better comprehensive immigration program for the United States.

Unfortunately, as you know, former President Trump ruined any chance of any immediate work that might be done, and I think [Trump] doesn’t actually care about immigration, which is an additive to our economy in the United States. We should be pro-immigration in this country. We always have been I don’t know why there are some people who are moving backward.

But we need to work on that today. It’s been 40 years since there was any serious comprehensive immigration reform and boy do we need it again now.

So those are some thoughts that I have. I’m pleased that the city has been contributing and helping to deal with the challenge of people arriving more frequently than I think ever before. Or at least more recent ever before. And I think they’re being treated as best as they can be. Although there’s always work to do on this.

And again, I’d remind you it’s not as if the city has fallen down on providing support. And so this is just a continuation of what the city has already been doing.

* Here’s a migrant news coverage roundup…


  1. - SouthSidePride - Tuesday, Apr 9, 24 @ 12:35 pm:

    Pritzker trying his best to look like the adult in the room with MBJ

  2. - Drury's Missing Clock - Tuesday, Apr 9, 24 @ 12:45 pm:

    Glad to see Evanston follow-suit from Oak Park and look at a shelter for migrants. Obviously the inner-ring suburbs are going to have to pick up the slack as Brandon’s incompetence rolls into its second year.

  3. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Apr 9, 24 @ 12:55 pm:

    Only a matter of time until welcoming city and state are done away with. Biden’s ICE is cracking down on these jurisdictions and requesting that their law enforcement communicate with ICE. Hope that dreamers aren’t caught up in the crackdown that said I this is what Biden ICE is up to.

  4. - Montrose - Tuesday, Apr 9, 24 @ 1:08 pm:

    There are reasonable and appropriate critiques of how the Johnson administration has handled this crisis, but I appreciate Gov Pritzker’s ability to both add in context that looks at the larger situation and recognize there is no benefit in standing in front of the media and cutting down the mayor.

  5. - Google Is Your Friend - Tuesday, Apr 9, 24 @ 1:09 pm:

    The middle paragraphs where the Governor talks about his own family history and then ties it back into the work being done today illustrate why JB is a great governor. 1) keeping people’s humanity in mind 2) using a personal story to tie into larger values 3) using the values to inform public policy

  6. - Lakeview Looker - Tuesday, Apr 9, 24 @ 1:14 pm:

    ==Biden’s ICE is cracking down on these jurisdictions and requesting that their law enforcement communicate with ICE==

    MANY of these migrants are not “undocumented” in the sense that there is no paper trail of their existence–they are here legally under our (broken) immigration system after claiming asylum. They are simply awaiting their day in court.

    In that sense, there is nothing for ICE to crackdown on.

  7. - Socially DIstant watcher - Tuesday, Apr 9, 24 @ 1:50 pm:

    Pritzker’s a pro. Texas is trying to sow dissension and Pritzker’s having none of it.

    There’s a time for criticism and this reporter’s question ain’t it.

  8. - New Day - Tuesday, Apr 9, 24 @ 1:51 pm:

    JB at his best. Too classy to say what we all know, as good as JB can be is as bad as Brandon is. Still no clue on how to do his job. The C- Chicago Mag gave him yesterday was a huge case of grade inflation.

  9. - Juvenal - Tuesday, Apr 9, 24 @ 2:18 pm:

    News coverage follows conflict, because conflict generates clicks which sells ads. But that does not mean Governor Pritzker is obligated to do reporters’ jobs for them by auto-generating clickbait quotes for them.

    You could headline this one “Pritzker Refuses to do Tribune Editorial Board’s Job for Them.”

    Tearing down is easy, which is why if you ever need a clickbait quote you can almost always count on a Republican. In this case, I recommend Paul Vallas.

    In fact, if you are a Democratic Comms professional, you read a quote and it sounds like something Vallas or Lightfoot would have said, you should delete it and start over.

    Pritzker is correct, it is all hands-on-deck, and pointing fingers at your teammates is what losers do.

  10. - Loop Lady - Tuesday, Apr 9, 24 @ 2:48 pm:

    Pritzker knows what Johnson is dealing with and takes the high road not commenting.

    We’re lucky to have him as Governor and I wish all the best to Brandon. This is a complex issue that Congress should have dealt with years ago, and punted to the States and big cities.

  11. - Jibba - Tuesday, Apr 9, 24 @ 3:12 pm:

    I like a governor whose first instinct is to find a way to work together and calm the waters. Almost like he’s got nothing to prove by scoring points on someone.

  12. - low level - Tuesday, Apr 9, 24 @ 8:36 pm:

    ==the Governor talks about his own family history and then ties it back into the work being done today illustrate why JB is a great governor==

    My thoughts exactly. Brilliant way to handle the question.

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