Illinois launches website to track state spending on asylum seekers

A new database aims to show how tax dollars are being spent on asylum seekers in Illinois.

The more migrants that arrive at the migrant landing zone at Polk and Desplaines streets, the more tax dollars are spent. That's why Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza has launched a new online portal to track state spending on new arrivals.

"While the state is incurring expenses that, frankly, should be paid by the federal government, I want to make sure that taxpayers know exactly what the state is spending money on when it comes to the arrival and care of asylum seekers," Mendoza said in a statement.

The portal's homepage shows visitors the spending amounts, vendor names and a description.

So far, the portal has tracked expenditures totaling $31.1 million since November 1, 2023. However, it's important to note the portal just launched Tuesday, so that number is expected to grow as more state agencies' expenditures are reported and recorded.

Mendoza said this is only the start of enhanced transparency when it comes to migrant spending.

"I believe that's one of the biggest issues right now is that there is a lot of money that's going out the door, whether it's the State of Illinois, which thankfully we are tracking, or Cook County or City of Chicago specifically and there have been quite a few stories that put into question whether or not those are the best use of taxpayer dollars when there's not a lot of transparency associated with them," Mendoza said.

"As we start to see greater influxes of migrants, which means greater resources that need to be allocated. We need to be able to keep a handle on those resources and really the best way to keep costs under control is to realize what those costs actually are."

Mendoza has encouraged Cook County and the City of Chicago to follow suit.