Gov. Pritzker issues disaster proclamation for resources to help asylum seekers

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker issued a disaster declaration to use resources to help asylum seekers.
Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 10:54 AM CDT
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ILLINOIS (KFVS) - Governor JB Pritzker issued a disaster proclamation on Wednesday, September 14 to use resources to help asylum seekers.

According to a release from the governor’s office, approximately 75 members of the Illinois National Guard were activated to help asylum seekers arriving nearly daily to Chicago from the state of Texas.

The proclamation allows the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and other state agencies, in coordination with the city of Chicago, Cook County, and other local governments, to ensure the people and families receive the help they need. This includes transport, emergency shelter and housing, food, health screenings, medical assessments, treatments and other necessary care and services.

“Today, I signed a disaster proclamation allowing the state to speed up the procurement of the immediate resources needed to help Chicago, Cook County, and other jurisdictions provide humanitarian assistance to the asylum seekers who are being sent to our state with no official advance notice by the Governor of Texas,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Let me be clear: while other states may be treating these vulnerable families as pawns, here in Illinois, we are treating them as people.”

According to the governor’s office, the proclamation is necessary “to ensure sufficient capacity to meet the needs of more than 500 asylum seekers who have arrived already, with more buses arriving nearly every day.”

They said the groups of migrants arriving from Texas are living in the United States legally, proceeding through the legal immigration and asylum seeking process. They are often fleeing dangerous perilous situations, and mostly coming from Central and South America.

At the southern border, the governor’s office said U.S. Customs and Border Patrol conducts biometric screenings – including facial and fingerprints – that are cross-checked against terrorist watch lists and criminal databases. New arrivals also undergo health screenings at the border, as well as additional screenings once they reach Chicago.

“To date, the State of Texas has been transporting asylum-seeking families and individuals to Illinois with no advance notice and with no coordination with the State of Illinois or the City of Chicago,” according to the press release. “The buses have been directed to drop their passengers at Union Station in Downtown Chicago despite requests from State and City officials that travelers be brought to Welcome Centers. Gov. Pritzker has repeatedly called on Texas to treat these asylum seekers with dignity, to open the lines of communication with his office, and to stop trying to manufacture chaos for political purposes.”

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Posted by Governor JB Pritzker on Wednesday, September 14, 2022