Pritzker activates National Guard as more migrants arrive in Chicago
CHICAGO - Governor JB Pritzker has issued a disaster declaration and called up National Guard members to help with the waves of migrants being bused to Chicago.
So far, more than 500 migrants have been bused to Chicago from Texas. On Wednesday, Governor Pritzker issued an emergency disaster proclamation as the state braces for many more.
"That's why I'm signing this proclamation today to ensure that these men, women and children get the services they need shelter, food, medicine," said Governor Pritzker.
Flanked by reps from all levels of Illinois government at the State of Illinois Building, Governor Pritzker said that declaration will free up resources for the statewide response.
Plus, he's activating 75 Illinois National Guard members to help with logistics. Everyone involved admits they're scrambling to respond to each bus, because they say Governor Greg Abbott and his entire Texas government are giving zero notice and zero information.
"He's shut those off from us. So, it is a manufactured crisis by ambush to be very clear," said Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
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Mayor Lightfoot says she's had productive talks with suburban mayors who were upset migrants unexpectedly showed up at their hotels. But she says communities around the state may need to step up.
"We are now 11 buses deep. And we know from speaking with our counterparts in New York and DC that this will not relent," said Grace Hou, Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services.
Both Lightfoot and Pritzker accuse the Texas governor of trying to inflame anti-immigrant sentiment, even with people here legally and seeking asylum.
Lightfoot also suggests federal money going to Texas should come to Chicago instead.
"We should not, and taxpayer dollars should not be used to pay for this kind of callous, inhumane treatment on the part of someone who is racing to the bottom for a political stunt. Those monies need to be reprogrammed and come to us," said Lightfoot.
Governor Pritzker says they're looking into whether Governor Abbot's actions are legal. They’re also seeking federal help to pay for this.