CHICAGO (WLS) — Gov. JB Pritzker spoke out Thursday, defending the state’s response to the migrant crisis.
With a record number of buses carrying migrants arriving this week, there are now close to 2,000 new arrivals at Chicago police stations.
According to city of Chicago data, the 9th District in Bridgeport has the most: 250 migrants are living there.
“As an alderman, I know I’m not speaking out of turn on behalf of my colleagues. We need a lot more help; it feels like it’s all been on the shoulders of the city right now,” 11th Ward Ald. Nicole Lee said.
The 9th District police station is in Lee’s ward.
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.
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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.
Sigcho-Lopez is calling on the governor to help the city find housing outside of Chicago
“The governor of course can pick up the phone and call other municipalities across the state; we are a welcome state,” Sigcho-Lopez said.
“If you’ve got buildings available, and I hope that the cities will raise their hands and offer assistance. We have provided grant opportunities for cities that will do that. And it’s a voluntary endeavor. We’re not going to do that unless the city asks us too,” Pritzker said.
Pritzker said he has some concerns about the city’s plan to build base camps for the migrants.
“I know the city has looked at this as one of the options, but I don’t think this is the only option, and we are attempting to identify other facilities that are already built,” he said.
But for many City Council members, help from the governor is not coming fast enough.
Aldermen plan to voice their concerns when City Council’s Committee on Immigration and Refugee Rights holds a hearing on the migrant issue Friday.