Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » State, city, mutual aid groups outline asylum seeker/migrant assistance (Updated)
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State, city, mutual aid groups outline asylum seeker/migrant assistance (Updated)

Friday, Sep 29, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From the governor’s office…

Asylum Seeker/Migrant Assistance

Since August 2022, Illinois has provided or committed over $328 million in funding to address the humanitarian asylum seeker crisis with direct funding to the City of Chicago, State-operated asylum seeker services, and additional State-supported services.

In addition to direct funding, the State has partnered with municipalities across the state, elected officials, community-based providers, and the federal government to coordinate, develop, and implement the infrastructure and coordination required for comprehensive, responsive, and strategic planning.

This $328 million investment is on top of the State of Illinois’ ongoing programming as a welcoming state for all immigrants and unhoused residents, including Illinois Welcoming Centers; VTTC (Victims of Trafficking Torture & Other Serious Crimes) medical, food and cash assistance; Immigrant Family Resource Program (IFRP); New Americans Initiative(NAI); and Home Illinois, Illinois’ plan to prevent and end homelessness.

Direct Funding to City of Chicago

    • $51 million in direct funding from the State to the City of Chicago for general asylum seeker support services
    • $19 million passthrough funding from State to City in accessing federal Shelter & Services Program (SSP) appropriation

Direct State Asylum Seeker Support

    • ~ $90 million in IEMA emergency support services ($3M Federal and $87M State)
    • $51 million in State direct support to asylum seekers

      o Hotel Supports (Rooms + Staffing)
      o Transportation
      o Medical

State-Supported Services

    • $64 million in comprehensive State-supported services for asylum seekers:

      o Asylum Seeker Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ASERAP)
      o Move-out Supports (Catholic Charities, New Life)
      o Wrap-around Services (ICIRR, Coalition of Immigrant Mental Health (CIMH))
      o Food (Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD))
      o Legal Services

    • $43 million in funding to municipalities to support asylum seekers statewide
    • $10 million to stand-up Interim Congregate Housing (ICH) facility on behalf of City of Chicago

The city has applied to receive all of the “$43 million in funding to municipalities to support asylum seekers statewide,” but Chicago Deputy Chief of Staff Cristina Pacione-Zayas said at a city council hearing today that she doesn’t expect the city will receive all the money. In fact, she said, the city has asked the state to identify Latino communities throughout the state. You can click here for a list. [ADDING: The state will announce soon that it is sending the city $32 million out of that $43 million.]

* Slide from the city’s presentation to that city council hearing about its costs…

No word on how much of that came from the state beyond the $70 million listed by the governor’s office (although the state’s outline goes back to last year, while the city’s is year to date).

…Adding… The city is reportedly planning to ask the state for an additional $200 million appropriation during the veto session. Not sure where that’s gonna come from.

* The city is laughably under-staffed. There’s no excuse for this…

That’s Beatriz Ponce de León, Deputy Mayor of Immigrant, Migrant and Refugee Rights.

* Volunteers are really stepping up, despite the lack of help and direction from the city. They estimate they’ve spent $6.1 million…

* Also from today’s hearing…


* Not only is the federal government paying to fly some migrants to Chicago, they’re also doing this…

At least some waivers are available, but still. Ridic.


  1. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 12:12 pm:


  2. - TheInvisibleMan - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 12:21 pm:

    I will never understand why we keep giving public money to Catholic Charities, when their ‘help’ comes with a laundry list of conditions. Conditions which have nothing to do with helping people, and everything to do with promoting their religion.

    Conditional help isn’t help. It’s manipulation.

  3. - DisappointedVoter - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 12:21 pm:

    I am baffled by the floor leader Rosa’s move to target the governor. The governor’s statement was a valid one. Tents should not be the only response and like many others I was happy to hear he was having conversations with the Johnson administration. It is confusing as to why that triggered Rosa and the Johnson camp.

    The Johnson admin has yet to communicate a plan that goes beyond tents. What is the 6 month and 1 year plan? What are the specific needs from the state beyond money? What conversations are Johnson and Biden having? Biden has been here a number of times since Johnson took office. There is no footage or B-roll of them even meeting.

    The time for cooperation is now. Targeted attacks at allies is a bad approach.

  4. - ChicagoBars - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 12:29 pm:

    - Disappointed voter -

    Go check out his twitter, Ramirez-Rosa just doubled down on the approach.

  5. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 12:31 pm:

    ===Ramirez-Rosa just doubled down===

    Yeah, that’ll really help break loose a $200 million supplemental during veto session. /s

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

    @12:31 my comment got cut off

    Carlos Ramirez Rosa and the rest of the Johnson administration are proving to be out of their league trying to run the 3rd largest city in the country. Although collaboration is required at all levels, their toxic politics will not be well received in Springfield. You will not get away with mockery and name calling at this level. And we thought the Lightfoot administration had a poor approach to Springfield.

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

    In my humble opinion: Naming Ramirez Rosa as Floor Leader showed the entire city that Brandon is not planning on serious governance but is planning on serious grandstanding.

  8. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 12:40 pm:

    ===Yeah, that’ll really help break loose a $200 million supplemental during veto session. /s===

    This is some real insanity.

  9. - TNR - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 12:40 pm:

    Asking the state for money at the same time your city council floor leader is taking shots at the Governor — not an effect approach. Reminds me of the Invest in Kids supporters who are taking shots at Pritzker, Welch and Harmon.

    Carlos Ramirez-Rosa and Austin Berg have more in common than either would like to admit.

  10. - Steve - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 12:40 pm:

    -Naming Ramirez Rosa as Floor Leader showed the entire city that Brandon-

    Johnson wanted a democratic socialist as floor leader and Zoning Chairman. It’s sends a message to unions, the business community, and others who is in charge.

  11. - 47th Ward - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 12:42 pm:

    I realize hindsight is 20/20, but it underscores the absolute dereliction of duty of the federal government to manage this crisis with some level of competence. The migrant crisis is a failure of US diplomacy first. Second, Chicago, NY and other cities could have welcomed these people a lot easier if the process was managed coherently, based on national needs. Instead, fed up Governors took matters into their own hands.

    Honestly, I am no longer blaming the governors. This is squarely on the Biden administration for allowing it to happen. The feds have the tools and the resources to ensure migrants are detained and identified at the border crossings, temporarily housed and then relocated to areas that have been prepared to receive them and to provide care for them.

    And then today, thanks to Rich because maybe I missed this elsewhere, I learned that the feds are charging $500 to apply for work authorization? That’s obscene. As obscene as making these people sleep on the floors of police stations.

    Some intervention is clearly needed in Venezuela, Central America and Mexico. The US has carrots and sticks to offer these governments an incentive to address the root causes of migration. From what I’ve seen, US diplomacy has been AWOL. Zero leadership on this.

    So it’s not a surprise that Chicago is overwhelmed and clearly not up to the task of playing catch up with a human tsunami. I’d like to think if this was an orderly process from the beginning, Chicago could have risen to the challenge.

    Now all we have are politicians pointing fingers and idle migrants trying to survive. No one wants to address these issues or own them, but let’s be clear about one thing: the Federal government is responsible for creating this crisis. Maybe it’s time they step up and clean it up and do something to end it.

  12. - NIU Grad - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 12:50 pm:

    With Ramirez-Rosa’s strong attacks on Pritzker, it gave me a quick flash-back to his being dropped from the Biss ticket in 2017. One wonders how much he’s still stewing about that and how much he blames the Pritzker team for that oppo…

    Either way, Johnson’s pick for an outspoken, unfiltered advocate to serve as his key spokesperson (since he seemingly doesn’t have a Comms team) is going to keep making him enemies on a daily basis.

  13. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 12:51 pm:

    Ramirez-Rosa went for horrific LG choice to someone working within the ranks enough to be in position to work to burn everything down

    Johnson elevating Ramirez-Rosa to this flame throwing, unhelpful, player, not gadfly, is how not to keep communications open in private or cooperative messaging in public towards a greater good.

  14. - ChicagoBars - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 1:01 pm:

    “ Adding… The city is reportedly planning to ask the state for an additional $200 million appropriation during the veto session. Not sure where that’s gonna come from.”

    Anybody got a bill number for this City $200M approp request? Does it have a sponsor? Has it even been drafted?

  15. - UPS - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 1:19 pm:

    I know there’s a lot of hard core progressive dems in Johnson’s camp who comment here.

    Can anyone tell me the rational for why police stations were the first idea to send migrants?

  16. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 1:21 pm:

    UPS, that decision was made by Lightfoot, not Johnson.

    Try to Google things before posting uninformed questions here.

  17. - Steve - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 1:22 pm:

    -NIU Grad-
    Good catch. I forgot about Rosa’s association with the BDS movement. Whew… Not a good look for Chicago.

  18. - Frida's boss - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 1:46 pm:

    CD is throwing bombs, attacking not only the Gov politically and blaming the state, which includes all the legislators, he’s taking personal attacks because he is rich so he should fund everything personally.
    He also has Ald Rodriguez and United Working Families parroting the same mantra blasting JB.

    You’ve been in office since May this isn’t new. You had all summer to plan and work on this. You’ve done victory laps for pushing a progressive agenda, but haven’t even done the basic deal of staffing your offices correctly.

    Governance via Twitter will not solve the problem, creates enemies, and shows that being an activist is great for campaigns but not good for governing.
    I’m sure when they all meet up later today to hash it out at some ironic Uptown bar and drink Pabst Blue Ribbon where they’ll pat each other on the back.

  19. - Hannibal Lecter - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 1:56 pm:

    === The city has failed throughout this entire year to provide the most basic of basic needs for asylum seekers. ===

    While the overall response could have been better at every level of government, I don’t think it is fair to blame the City for this failure when there clearly not enough resources to adequately address the problem. Governments have budgets, and when thousands of individuals get shipped to your city with little to no resources to take care of basic human needs, things are not going to work well. We already have a significant homeless population in the City — now the City has to provide food, water, and shelter for thousands of people that weren’t here before?

    There is no mayor that could have made this work out seamlessly. If Daley was still the mayor, he would have put the migrants on busses in the middle of the night and sent them back to Texas and Florida.

  20. - Stephanie Kollmann - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 2:13 pm:

    Another POV, Hannibal, is that about $9,000 per person has been spent, yet almost no one has actually received housing support to transition into independence.

    Harder to point to lack of resources as the problem when the priorities and planning are so dubious.

  21. - Stephanie Kollmann - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 2:16 pm:

    (Clearly, more resources are in fact needed. But so is a clear answer about what they’re needed FOR.)

  22. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 2:19 pm:

    ===Harder to point to lack of resources as the problem when the priorities and planning are so dubious. ===

    This. All day this. The city has no plan except to dump people into camps or whatever and hope the problem goes away.

    The problem ain’t going away until the feds figure out what to do with Venezuela.

  23. - Telly - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 2:23 pm:

    Fran Spielman wrote back in May that Mayor Johnson was taking a “political gamble” in appointing Ramirez-Rosa to not one, but two of the City Council’s most prominent posts, zoning chair and floor leader. I’d say the mayor just lost that roll of the dice.

  24. - Hannibal Lecter - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 2:26 pm:

    === I’d say the mayor just lost that roll of the dice. ===

    Definitely rolled a seven and crapped out with CRR.

  25. - walker - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 2:32 pm:

    Ramirez Rosa had better hope legislators are ignoring him, if he’s expecting more state help.

  26. - pragmatist - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 2:35 pm:

    Carlos Ramirez-Rosa is doing political malpractice. The DSA elected are upset that their local DSA IPOs are holding them and the mayor accountable for Garda World. Stacey Davis Gates is taking the same tact. After organizing for years, the lefties have the power they fought for and still act like they are organizers trying to fight the power. It’s all bizarre. Rosa is not ready for prime time. And it seems like neither is the Johnson administration.

  27. - Dotnonymous x - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 2:39 pm:

    They are not “migrants”…they are immigrants…like all of our ancestors.

  28. - pragmatist - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 2:47 pm:

    I hit ’say it’ before I finished my entire thought.

    I voted for Johnson, and frankly, I was surprised the mayor, Stacey Davis Gates, Ramirez Rosa, and all the other lefties who helped elect the mayor don’t see the irony. If Rahm- or had Vallass won- contracted with Garda World, they would be out in the streets, accusing the mayor of getting in bed with the military-industrial complex.

    The decision to build camps can’t be blamed on procurement alone. Remember, the city procured all types of PPE during COVID without procurement rules. They just did what was needed to save lives. Why is this situation any different?

    Mayor Johnson needs to be better served by his political allies obsessed with co-governing and pretending to be on the outside. Folks, you wanted the job. You got it. Getting criticized comes with the job. Grow up.

  29. - Frida’s boss - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 3:04 pm:

    Beyond all else…. Start hiring staff with real world government experience. Not just activists, organizers and policy folks who all had great ideas but never had to go through implementation.
    Ideas are great, putting it in to practice is hard, even more so when you don’t have skilled adequate staff.

  30. - Ucci - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 3:05 pm:

    ==The DSA elected are upset that their local DSA IPOs are holding them and the mayor accountable==

    Not really. Its more like posturing rather than actual accountability. Their statement itself makes excuses for the lack of planning from the administration. Furthermore their statement (and subsequent tweets) only echo the attacks hurled at the state and amplify the messages by Ramirez Rosa.

  31. - sulla - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 3:08 pm:

    “the lefties have the power they fought for and still act like they are organizers trying to fight the power.”

    The ability to win an election and the ability to govern successfully are not automatically congruent.

  32. - Tinman - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 4:24 pm:

    The Biden administration has failed at dealing with the migrant crisis. They should have a national plan and coordinate it with all the elected leaders on how it’s going to implemented. But instead silence and acting like there is no problem. Leaving it up to local and state leaders to deal with it . What a total failure . This needs leadership and acknowledgement that there is a problem.

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