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Pritzker, Preckwinkle ‘optimistic’ that Chicago city council will approve asylum-seeker funding

Monday, Apr 15, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Gov. JB Pritzker at this morning’s news conference

Q: The state as well as the county have made the commitment to funding to help with the migrant crisis. Today, a City Council committee and then on Wednesday, the City Council is expected to vote on appropriating $70 million from their reserve funds to meet the amount of money the two of you had hoped the city would commit. Have you had any conversations with the mayor or has your staff talked to his staff about that? And do you have any concerns that some members of the City Council could balk at this and want to see the money spent to other needs that the city has?

Pritzker: Look, there are people who hold office in Illinois who don’t think that we should care for the people that are being shipped here by the Texas governor, that we should just let them wander around homeless with no food with no medical care. They’re just people who believe that. I’m not suggesting that any particular members of the city council believe that. But I know there is just generally a feeling like hey, it’s our money. We should apply it to the people who’ve lived here for a long time.

But the reality is that it’s much better for the city and for the state. If we provide just basic, basic humanitarian care for people who arrive here, and so we’re attempting to do that. I know that the mayor is committed to this, certainly the President of the Cook County Board is committed to it, and I am.

I’m hopeful and I think I’m optimistic that the city council will commit to this. It’s the right program. By the way, the state is taking more than a majority of the cost on, and so collectively this kind of partnership is the right way to go for the taxpayers. It’s the right way to go for doing what’s right for the new arrivals in Chicago. I’m proud of the work that the volunteers the people on the ground are doing just to provide these basic humanitarian needs.

Q: President Preckwinkle, can we ask you to weigh in on that? Have you had conversations with the mayor, is there any work that you’re doing to help this get over the hump if you will and get this approved?

Preckwinkle: Well, the first thing I should say to follow on what the governor said, you know, I’m not a student of comparative religion. I’m a history teacher, but I don’t know any faith tradition that doesn’t say you shouldn’t care for the people, strangers who come to your door.

So I want to thank the governor for his steadfast support of our new arrivals and my own commissioners. I spoke with each of them prior to the public announcement of the partnership between the city the county in the state that try to provide more resources for new arrivals and got an overwhelmingly positive response.

I’m grateful to the governor for his leadership. I’m grateful to our commissioners for their support for a county investment in new arrivals.

I know that there’s a vote with the budget committee I think at two o’clock today and I hope the matter comes out of committee and is taken up on Wednesday.

Q: I understand you did speak to alderman over the weekend and not all of them are on board. What was your method of trying to convince them that this is a good vote.

Preckwinkle: I said some of the things I just said here. And I talked to people who are my colleagues in the city council, when I served there for almost 20 years and shared with them that the county was prepared to step up and the state of course, and hopefully they would as well.

Please pardon any transcription errors.

* Related coverage…

    * CNN | Cities desperately need money to handle the migrant surge. Congress recently gave them less: Congress last month approved the fiscal year 2024 funding level for FEMA’s Shelter and Services Program in the federal funding package, nearly six months into the fiscal year. Cities, counties and states around the nation have repeatedly asked the federal government for more money to handle the surge of migrants entering the US, and the Biden administration last year called on lawmakers to pump an additional $600 million into the program. The program has not been able to provide any additional financial support since late 2023. But instead, lawmakers cut the program’s funding to $650 million, down nearly 20% from the prior year. The House and Senate appropriations committees did not return requests for comment.

    * Tribune | Chicago and Illinois to receive $19M from feds to help with migrant crisis: The city of Chicago and the state of Illinois are set to split more than $19 million in new congressionally approved funding released to assist cities and states in addressing the migrant crisis, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin announced Friday. The Department of Homeland Security released the first installment of $300 million in grants to support communities providing services to migrants, federal officials said Friday. The funds come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

    * ABC Chicago | City Council Budget Committee to discuss mayor’s $70 million proposal to fund migrants in Chicago: Last week, the city said there are nearly 10,000 migrants are staying in city shelters right now across Chicago. Soon, the closed St. Bartholomew School in Portage Park will become the latest shelter for asylum-seekers, and it is set to open in April. The committee will meet at 2 p.m. on Monday to consider the mayor’s proposal. But the full council would need to approve the funding.

    * WGN | CDPH Commissioner screening new migrants for tuberculosis: Dr. Olusimbo Ige, Commissioner for the Chicago Department of Public Health, joins Lisa Dent to discuss what her office is doing to protect the public after a small number of tuberculosis cases were detected among migrants at city shelters and whether we should be concerned about a larger outbreak.

    * Reuters | Trump says migrants are fueling violent crime. Here is what the research shows: A range of studies by academics and think tanks have shown that immigrants do not commit crime at a higher rate than native-born Americans. A more limited universe of studies specifically examine criminality among immigrants in the U.S. illegally but also find that they do not commit crimes at a higher rate.

    * AP | How migrant workers have contributed to strong U.S. job growth: How has the economy managed to prosper, adding hundreds of thousands of jobs, month after month, at a time when the Federal Reserve has aggressively raised interest rates to fight inflation — normally a recipe for a recession? Increasingly, the answer appears to be immigrants — whether living in the United States legally or not. The influx of foreign-born adults vastly raised the supply of available workers after a U.S. labor shortage had left many companies unable to fill jobs.

       

2 Comments
  1. - clec dcn - Monday, Apr 15, 24 @ 1:36 pm:

    I have not read the studies as yet, but I would think that immigrants are not different than any other group on crime rate. That said there is still a problem of the boarder and drugs. Too bad they cannot at least come to some understanding. The drug crisis is costing lives.


  2. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 15, 24 @ 2:12 pm:

    ===The drug crisis is costing lives.===

    It’s mainly a demand problem.


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