Taxpayer money pays for grant opportunities provided for cities that will do that
In a significant move to provide support and resources to migrants arriving in the state, Illinois has allocated over $41.5 million in taxpayer-funded grants to six local governments in the Chicago area. These funds are aimed at assisting with the needs of the approximately 15,000 non-citizen migrant arrivals.
Initially, the state of Illinois provided financial assistance for hotel stays for new migrants in Chicago, but Governor J.B. Pritzker acknowledged that this approach had limitations in adequately addressing all the essential services required. Consequently, the state has shifted its strategy to provide comprehensive support in alternative ways.
Governor Pritzker also called upon other governments across Illinois to volunteer to host migrants and provide essential services, emphasizing that this effort is voluntary.
On Friday, Pritzker's administration announced the allocation of $41.5 million in grants to local governments to support asylum seekers. Chicago is set to receive more than $30 million in new grants, while Joliet will receive $8.6 million. Additional grants include $1.3 million for Elgin, $1 million for Lake County, $250,000 for Urbana, and $150,000 for Oak Park. These funds will be utilized for crucial services such as shelter, food, legal support, and healthcare.
Governor Pritzker reiterated that Illinois is a welcoming state and acknowledged that while significant federal support is still needed to address the ongoing crisis, these grants empower local governments to establish services and support systems for new arrivals. This enables a smoother transition for migrants into the state and helps them navigate the legal asylum process.
To date, Pritzker's office has reported that the state has contributed a total of $328 million to support asylum seekers.
The allocation of funds and resources to assist migrants has come under scrutiny from some lawmakers. State Representative Dan Ugaste, R-Geneva, called for a thorough review of such spending to ensure transparency and proper utilization of resources.