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Chicago set to provide schooling and additional housing for migrants

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(The Center Square) – Illinois taxpayers have been on the hook for increased costs as part of the state’s plan to house undocumented migrants in Chicago.

More than 10,000 migrants have arrived in Illinois over the last ten months, which has resulted in $94 million in taxpayer funds being set aside to help pay for services for the migrants.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he is doing everything he can to assist Chicago in supporting the migrants.

“We are doing as much as we are asked to do and as much as we can do to try and provide help at the local level in the city so that people have food, clothing, shelter and the basic needs like healthcare,” Pritzker said last month.

Earlier this week, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson was joined by Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez and other city and community leaders to announce the opening of a pilot welcoming center for newly arriving families that will look to house and prepare migrant students for the school year.

“What I can say is moving forward, a better, stronger, safer Chicago requires us to work together and that’s what we are doing,” Johnson said. “Chicago is the very place that embodies what welcoming spaces in the city should look like.”

Johnson said if the welcoming center is successful, he will look to open more throughout the city in the coming months.

Chicago is also dealing with a high rate of crime as well as increased property taxes.

State Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago, said after all the resources that have been given to the migrants, current city residents feel underserved.

“What people are feeling is that the people who have been in these neighborhoods for generations, they have been treated inhumanely by the same government that is making efforts to provide good care to the asylum seekers,” Ford told The Center Square in June.

The migrants started arriving under the Lori Lightfoot administration, which state Rep. Brad Halbrook, R-Shelbyville, said resulted from the former mayor’s handling due to Lightfoot and other Chicago lawmakers wanting a sanctuary city.

“It’s easy to make those statements, and it’s easy to be a sanctuary city when you don’t have any consequences to face that decision,” Halbrook said in May. “Now the mayor has got this reality of these immigrants being bused into the city, and she’s having to sing a different tune.”

Since the migrants have arrived in Chicago, the state and the city have provided housing by utilizing unoccupied high school facilities and recreational centers throughout the city. The state budget includes $550 million in migrant health care subsidies. Legislation was also approved to allow for a certain immigrants to work as a police officer within the city.

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