CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker on Wednesday issued a disaster declaration in an effort to assist migrants being bused from the Texas border to Chicago.
The proclamation enables the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and other state agencies, in close coordination with the City of Chicago, Cook County, and other local governments, to ensure that individuals and families receive the assistance they need.
“Today, I signed a disaster proclamation allowing the state to speed up the procurement of the immediate resources needed to help Chicago, Cook County, and other jurisdictions provide humanitarian assistance to the asylum seekers who are being sent to our state with no official advance notice by the Governor of Texas,” said Pritzker. “Let me be clear: while other states may be treating these vulnerable families as pawns, here in Illinois, we are treating them as people.”
More than 500 immigrants have arrived in Illinois already, with buses more arriving nearly every day, according to Springfield.
In total, more than 7,400 migrants have been bused to Washington D.C, and over 1,500 have been sent to New York City as part of “Operation Lone Star,” undertaken by the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has criticized the Biden’s administration for failing to enforce America’s immigration policies at the southern border, with migrant crossings causing a strain on the state’s infrastructure.
The migrants cross into the U.S. illegally and then claim they need asylum and are then processed at an intake center.
In April, Gov. Abbott directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management to charter buses to transport undocumented individuals from Texas to Washington D.C. Earlier in August, he directed that New York City be added as a second drop-off location.
According to the governor’s office, thousands of undocumented individuals have been transported to D.C. and New York City, providing “much-needed relief to Texas’ overwhelmed border communities.”
Abbott cited Chicago’s “Welcoming City Ordinance” as a reason why he selected it as the state’s third drop-off location.
“Chicago will join fellow sanctuary cities Washington, D.C. and New York City as an additional drop-off location. Mayor Lightfoot loves to tout the responsibility of her city to welcome all regardless of legal status, and I look forward to seeing this responsibility in action as these migrants receive resources from a sanctuary city with the capacity to serve them,” Abbott said.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called the policy “racist” but said the city would welcome the new arrivals.
Pritzker said Wednesday that his disaster proclamation is meant to marshal state resources to accommodate and care for the arrival of migrants.
The governor accused Abbott of “playing politics” by sending buses of migrants to Illinois cities unannounced, and said Texas officials are not giving advance notice to Chicago agencies.
“Please do us the courtesy of giving us advance notice, of at least a week or more,” Pritzker said, addressing Abbott directly at Wednesday’s press conference.