Some immigrants from Venezuela eat fast food on a bus outside Chicago’s Union Station Aug. 31, 2022, after arriving from Texas.
Chicago is set to receive $20 million from the state to care for migrants arriving in the city.
On Jan. 10, state lawmakers passed an appropriations bill containing the millions for costs associated with “shelter, transportation, basic health and first aid, food” and other needs for asylum seekers. The bill is awaiting Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s signature.
But $20 million is less than what Mayor Lori Lightfoot was hoping for. Late last month, Lightfoot sent a letter to state legislators from Chicago asking for their help in securing $53.5 million in additional state funding through the end of the fiscal year to care for the migrants.
Her plea came just one day after the state informed Chicago that it would soon terminate all fiscal support to the city for migrant services.
Since late August, more than 5,000 asylum seekers have arrived in Chicago aboard chartered buses from Texas and Colorado. Of the new arrivals, 3,937 have accepted shelter and services from the city, county and state, Chicago officials said.
The city has had to get creative to provide shelter for the influx of migrants, including turning the Northerly Island visitor center into temporary housing.