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State and county announce $250 million commitment for asylum seeker response

CHICAGO, Ill. (February 18, 2024) — Governor JB Pritzker and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced their commitment to a joint funding plan to ensure shelter, wraparound services, and healthcare remain available for asylum seekers sent to Chicago from the Texas border. Following a long-term planning exercise, state, county and city teams concluded that an additional estimated $321 million is needed to maintain shelter and services this calendar year, on top of previously committed funding. Governor Pritzker and President Preckwinkle are pledging a combined investment of over $250 million to help close this gap.

In November, the State of Illinois committed an additional $160 million to the asylum seeker response to invest in three critical areas: welcome, shelter, and independence. That commitment was in addition to the $478 million the State has spent since the start of the response. As part of the joint funding plan, the State is pledging an additional $182 million, which will be part of the Governor’s upcoming Fiscal Year 2025 budget proposal to the General Assembly.

“With thousands of asylum seekers continuing to come to Chicago in desperate need of support and with Congress continuing to refuse to act — it is clear the state, county, and city will have to do more to keep people safe,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I’m thankful to President Preckwinkle for working with us to help close this budget gap and maintain critical services in the year ahead.”

Cook County has already committed more than $100 million in its current FY24 budget for new arrival related costs, primarily for healthcare, and the President will work with Cook County commissioners to commit up to $70 million more for this joint funding plan.

“As critical funding for this ongoing humanitarian crisis stalls in Congress, Cook County stands committed to the well-being of the region,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “We cannot wait for additional resources and Cook County is proud to stand alongside Governor Pritzker in this joint funding plan, ensuring that shelter capacity, healthcare and wraparound services remain accessible to those in need.”

Cook County, through its health and hospital system, has been the primary health care provider for new arrivals and have served more than 25,000 patients and provided for nearly 70,000 visits across the health system. Cook County Health (CCH) provides comprehensive medical exams and care — including physical exams, testing, lab services, standard vaccinations, complete school physicals, and pediatric vaccines, as well as behavioral health screenings and counseling, care coordination, and prescription medications — and provides follow up care as needed.

This joint funding plan will maintain shelter capacity as well as the continuation of wraparound and healthcare services. More than 35,000 asylum seekers have been inhumanely dropped off in the City of Chicago and surrounding suburbs over the last year and a half.

Office of the Illinois Governor
Office of the Illinois Governorhttps://www.illinois.gov/
One of the duties of the Office of the ​Governor is to announce the lowering of flags to half-staff for every Illinois member of the armed forces, police force, fire service, and other groups covered by the Act killed in the line of duty. The Lansing Journal receives news releases regarding these occasions and republishes them for our community. We also publish other state news from the Governor's Office that impacts or interests our community.

1 COMMENT

  1. When will our elected leaders understand that Lansing taxpayers who are now overtaxed by the State and Cook County should be providing the money for services to ensure the needs of illegal migrants flooding into our communities?
    The only way I see to get them to come to their senses is to stop voting for insanity. This should include our current Govenor and all our elected State Representatives who voted to allow this. This should be the time for people to take back control of their government.

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