An area state representative and state senator are angry over Governor J.B. Pritzker’s recent plan to spend $160 million in funds from the Illinois Department of Human Services on the migrant crisis in Chicago.
Pritzker announced the plan to spend the funds on Thursday on top of the $478 million in funds already spent in the current fiscal year. Since 2022, nearly 25,000 migrants have been bussed to Chicago from the southern border from Texas and Florida.
100th District Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer filed legislation last month to repeal the state law making Illinois a sanctuary state for undocumented immigrants and subsequently started an online petition drive in support of the legislation.
On Thursday after the governor’s announcement, Davidsmeyer released a statement about the new $160 million plan saying the state was mixing up its priorities by not spending money on other problems that DHS currently has – referencing reports of children sleeping on floors due to a lack of proper placement by the Department of Children & Family Services and too low of funding for the developmentally disabled and senior citizens. Davidsmeyer called the Governor’s plan disgraceful, while also citing the $2 billion in costs to a healthcare program for undocumented senior immigrants.
Davidsmeyer and Pritzker’s viewpoints did intersect, saying the federal government had failed to step in and assist with the work. Pritzker placed blame on Congress for not acting, while Davidsmeyer pointed the finger at President Joe Biden’s administration.
State Senator Jil Tracy says that the funding issue for the migrants should have been addressed by state lawmakers and not the governor during the recently concluded Fall Veto Session: “The Governor of Illinois is focused on helping non-citizens and addressing issues on the national stage, instead of finding solutions to the very real problems here in our state,” Tracy said. “Illinois has funding shortfalls for state programs that help senior citizens, abused children, residents with developmental disabilities and mental illness, and homeless veterans, yet Pritzker has chosen to divert taxpayer dollars to non-citizens. It’s frustrating how the leadership of our state – from the Governor to the Mayor of Chicago – has failed. This is a crisis of their own making.”
Early last week, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson announced plans to cap shelter stays to 60 days. The city has used commercial space, hotels, and park district fieldhouses as shelters once migrants are moved from police stations. He didn’t offer details on what would happen if people didn’t have more permanent housing within that time frame. Johnson has also proposed winterized tents, but city officials have struggled to find a location, according to NBC 5 in Chicago.