Gov. Pritzker issues disaster proclamation to assist migrants bused in from Texas

More than 500 migrants have been bused to Chicago from Texas, city says

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ByCraig Wall via WLS logo
Wednesday, September 14, 2022
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Governor JB Pritzker is calling out the National Guard to help deal with the busloads of migrants being sent to Chicago from Texas.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Governor JB Pritzker is calling out the National Guard to help deal with the busloads of migrants being sent to Chicago from Texas.

The governor also issuing a disaster proclamation to speed up the availability of state money and resources to deal with the crisis.

Watch the full press conference below

Pritzker took the extraordinary steps Wednesday to deal with the mounting crisis that is only expected to worsen.

So far, 11 busloads of migrants have arrived in Chicago from Texas. Approximately 509 migrants have been sent here, according to the city.

RELATED | Some Texas migrants housed in suburban hotels; Burr Ridge mayor says he wasn't warned

The latest migrants arriving in Chicago became the tipping point for state and local officials. Governor Pritzker issued the disaster declaration to allow the state to cut through red tape and quickly release money to pay for hotels and medical care for the migrants.

Pritzker accused the Texas governor of playing games with people's lives as part of political stunt.

"They won't tell us how many infants, children, seniors, families are on board," Pritzker said. "They won't tell us what route they take or when they will arrive, they won't provide any information that would actually help their fellow Americans welcome and care for these human beings."

RELATED | Texas migrants arriving to Chicago will need long-term support, some say

Pritzker activated 75 members of the National Guard to provide relief for overburdened state social workers, until more private contract workers can be hired to assist in caring for the migrants.

"And we have been unnecessarily scrambling to ensure that they have a safe place to sleep, baby formula, health care and other basic supports," Illinois Dept. of Human Services Secretary Grace Hou said.

WATCH | Sen. Dick Durbin discusses migrants sent to Chicago

The governor and mayor called on federal officials to act, saying that while there is local money to deal with the current crisis, if it continues - and they expect it will - those funds will eventually run out.

"This is not a new challenge at the border. But this is a new challenge for us," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. "And we need federal support, resources, communication and collaboration and that has to come in short order."

The Republican National Committee has now joined the war of words over the migrant crisis, issuing a statement saying, in part: "After years of supporting Joe Biden and Kamala Harris' open borders agenda, Lori Lightfoot and J.B. Pritzker are crying foul because they're now forced to deal with the very issues they've shoved on southern border states."