(The Center Square) – Six Chicago-area local governments are set to receive more than $41 million in taxpayer-funded grants from the state of Illinois to serve some of the 15,000 non-citizen migrant arrivals.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at first, the state was helping pay for hotel stays for new migrants in Chicago.
“And that worked for a little while,” Pritzker said. “It doesn’t work well for providing all the services that are necessary. So we’ve moved off of that and are assisting in every other way we can.”
He also asked other governments throughout Illinois to volunteer to take in the migrants and provide services.
“We have provided grant opportunities to cities that will do that,” Pritzker said. “It’s a voluntary endeavor.”
Pritzker’s administration announced Friday $41.5 million in grants for local governments to accept asylum seekers. Chicago is getting more than $30 million in new grants. The city of Joliet is getting $8.6 million. Elgin is getting nearly $1.3 million. Lake County will get $1 million. The city of Urbana will get $250,000 while Oak park will get $150,000.
The money will be used for direct services like shelter, food, legal support and health care.
Pritzker said in a statement Illinois is “a welcoming state.”
“Although we will still need significant federal support as this crisis continues, these grants will empower local governments to build out services and supports for new arrivals so we can successfully transition them into our state and give them the opportunity to complete their legal asylum process,” Pritzker said in a statement Friday.
To date, Pritzker’s office said the state has contributed $328 million overall to support asylum seekers.
Earlier this month, state Rep. Dan Ugaste, R-Geneva, urged for a thorough review of such spending.
“And the state should have an idea of where all that money is going, how it’s being spent and make sure it’s being used properly, just as we should with everything,” Ugaste said.
NBC 5 Chicago reported the city of Chicago paid more than $56 million to a health care staffing provider for medical services. One invoice the NBC 5 reported showed one nurse was paid $20,000 for one week of work at a migrant shelter.
Sanctuary cities like Chicago, Washington D.C., New York City and others have seen tens of thousands of foreign national arrive since President Joe Biden took office and altered border security and immigration policies at both the southern and northern U.S. borders.
The border state of Texas has seen the bulk of migrants crossing in from Mexico, and Pritzker has criticized Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for his implementation of a plan to bus a small portion of those to sanctuary cities such as Chicago.