US Rep. Jonathan Jackson calls for rest of Illinois to step up as more Chicago migrants arrive

Michelle Gallardo Image
Sunday, November 5, 2023
US Rep. Jackson calls for rest of state to step up help with migrants
During a South Shore town hall, U.S. Rep. Jonathan Jackson called for the rest of the state to step up and help with the Chicago migrant crisis.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Given the growing concerns surrounding the migrant crisis, it was no surprise that when U.S. Rep. Jonathan Jackson announced he would dedicate a significant portion of Sunday's town hall meeting to addressing the issue, the turnout was such that people had to be turned away.

"The State of Illinois is a sanctuary state. Chicago is a sanctuary city," Jackson said. "This is not Chicago's burden alone."

Calling on the rest of the state to step up to the plate, Jackson took the opportunity of his quarterly town hall meeting to address the growing migrant crisis that continues to divide both residents and elected officials.

SEE ALSO | Chicago City Council meeting on sanctuary city referendum spirals into chaos

"President Biden will be in Chicago this coming Thursday. I'm sending him another letter sharing with him the heightened concerns that we have," Jackson said.

The concerns are many. As of right now, there are still more than 3,000 migrants living in tents at police stations around the city, with more being bused in from Texas every day. Migrants were seen rummaging through recent donations at CPD's 8th District in search of a pair of winter boots on Sunday.

But, what comes next? And, when will it end?

"How are we financing this? Taxpayers? And if so, what are we going to get back? I have nothing against them, but we just need to know the plan," said town hall attendee Tara Little.

"It's a federal issue. The federal government is responsible for it. Congress needs to get together. The Republicans need to work with the Democrats and fix the problem. These are poor people being used for other persons' political gains," said Mark Wallace, another attendee.

And, while Jackson made it clear that his office is staying out of the city's decision to build winterized base camps to house migrants, including a proposed base camp inside his district at 115th and Halsted, the debate rages on.

READ MORE | Chicago migrants: West Town shelter will go forward after judge denies temporary restraining order

"Help starts at home, and you take care of your own first. But, unfortunately, they were brought here, and there's nothing we can do, because winter is here, now, and we can't leave these people out in the cold. So, we do have to help them right now. But, we also have to help our own," said town hall attendee Radie Kilpatrick.

While the federal government has recently allocated some money to alleviate the situation, it is but a drop in the bucket of what is needed. Jackson on Sunday blasted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for keeping federal funds meant to be used for migrants, while, at the same time, continuing to bus most of them out of state.