(The Center Square) – After the city of Joliet rejected $8.6 million in taxpayer funds to help city officials house and provide food to nearly 1,900 non-citizens, there are questions surrounding what the state should do with the money.
Illinois has seen more than 20,000 migrants from the southern border arrive since August 2022. Chicago officials say they have run out of room for housing. This has forced the state to look at other city’s for placement.
Joliet was offered $8.6 million in state taxpayer funds but rejected that after pushback from residents.
State Rep. Martin McLaughlin, R-Barrington Hills, a former suburban mayor, applauded the people of Joliet for taking a stand.
“I don’t believe anyone ever expected that their tax money would ever be spent on non-citizen needs in the state of Illinois,” McLaughlin said. “As a former mayor, if the state of Illinois would have provided me money for services that were never called for in my charter for non-citizens, I would have rejected it as well.”
Illinois’ migrant health care subsidies are projected to costs state taxpayers $831 million, or $300 million over budget. In total, the state is expected to spend over $1 billion on non-citizen housing, healthcare and other services.
“I believe the state has a problem,” McLaughlin told The Center Square. “They do not understand what their role is as it relates to tax raising and services that their citizens need. They can try to cover up the problem of the migrant crisis, but really, we should immediately cancel sanctuary state and city status.”
Last week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker was asked about the amount of taxpayer funds the state is using to provide care and said it is the state’s duty to help these arrivals.
“It is an obligation, I think, in a humanitarian crisis for us to step up and make sure that people are not starving and that they have a place to stay and that they get the basic health care that they need,” Pritzker said.
In August, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson also reaffirmed his support for using taxpayer funds for non-citizen services.
“Here’s what I am committed to doing, honoring the law of being a sanctuary city and building systems of care that provide a pathway with dignity for individuals who are seeking refuge here in the city of Chicago,” Johnson said.
There has been no slowdown in the number of arrivals coming to the Land of Lincoln, and many more are expected to continue arriving in the coming months.