More taxpayer funds going toward migrant meals

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(The Center Square) – Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says the state will pay an additional $4 million to provide meals to asylum seekers through the end of the calendar year, which adds to the already inflated amount of taxpayer dollars for noncitizen migrants arriving in Chicago.

The $4 million is expected to cover meal costs for only the end of the month. November was covered by $2 million from the Greater Chicago Food Depository. The state has already provided $10.5 million in funding for food for new arrivals since they began to show up in the Windy City, bringing the total now to $12.5 million just for food.

Illinois has spent more than $500 million in taxpayer funding to care for the migrants since they arrived.

Pritzker said while the state is helping the city with funding, Chicago should be the one with a plan.

“The city should be able to come up with a comprehensive plan on its own,” Pritzker said. “The state has stepped in for the last two months and thank goodness for the Greater Chicago Food Depository.”

The spending for the state to deal with the migrant crisis continues to increase; last month, Pritzker announced another $160 million investment through the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Additionally, Illinois’ migrant health care subsidies are projected to be $831 million this fiscal year, or $300 million over budget. In total, the state is expected to spend over $1 billion on non-citizen housing, health care, and other services.

Both Mayor Brandon Johnson and Pritzker have called on the Biden administration for help with costs.

“In Illinois, we welcome asylum-seeking families with dignity, and that means ensuring they don’t go hungry,” Pritzker said. “The state is continuing to make strategic investments in the absence of the resources and coordination we continue to advocate for from Congress and the federal government.”

Johnson said last month that this is not just a Chicago problem.

“This is a national problem. It is an international problem,” Johnson said. “The federal government has to do more.”

According to state numbers, other investments coming from state taxpayer funds include $30 million to put up a large intake center for those coming to Chicago who are seeking an alternative final destination, $65 million to erect and contract operations for two shelters as part of the existing city of Chicago shelter system, and $65 million in increased funding to expand the wraparound services the state currently provides at city shelters.

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