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City Council’s Latino Caucus Wants Lightfoot To Issue State Of Emergency To Help Care For Influx Of Immigrants

Nearly 3,000 people from Central and South America have been bused to Chicago from Texas since Aug. 31. Latino Caucus members say a state of emergency would free up more resources to assist them.

Migrants disembark a bus at Union Station after a 25-hour-long ride from Texas on Sept. 9, 2022.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — The City Council’s Latino Caucus is pushing Mayor Lori Lightfoot to make an emergency declaration that would increase available aid for nearly 3,000 migrants who have come to Chicago in the past six weeks.

The group released a statement Wednesday asking for Lightfoot to issue a state of emergency, following in the steps of New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

“This will give the appropriate city agencies the ability to establish and operate more centers that will provide assistance for arriving asylum seekers including respite, food, medical care, case work services, assessment of settlement options, as well as direct referrals to alternative emergency supports,” caucus members said in the statement.

“The Chicago City Council Latino Caucus proudly stands behind Chicago’s welcoming city ordinance and recognizes the work it will take to ensure any immigrant, asylum-seeker, and refugee the adequate resources to adjust to their new environment.”

Gov. JB Pritzker issued a state of emergency last month to tap National Guard members to help coordinate logistics, and fast-track housing and services for the migrants who are being bused from Texas to Chicago and other Democrat-led cities like New York City and Washington, D.C.

It’s unclear if Lightfoot is considering the move locally. The Mayor’s office said in a statement Wednesday the city is “committed to continuing our collaboration with the State of Illinois, Cook County Government, nonprofit leaders, and federal partners to support the individuals and families who have arrived from Texas.”

Texas started sending busloads of migrants from Central and South America to Chicago in late August and hasn’t slowed down. State and local officials have repeatedly slammed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for the move, saying he hasn’t communicated with his counterparts about the needs of the migrants and he has treated people inhumanely by shipping them across the country.

The city has turned to hotels and converted temporary shelters to house the thousands of immigrants since August.

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