Oct 3, 2023 - News

Democrats divided on migrant plans in Chicago

A group of migrants wait to board a school bus near a Chicago Greyhound station after being transported from Texas last week. Photo: Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Twenty-seven migrant buses arrived in Chicago from Friday to Sunday, some unannounced in the early hours of the morning.

Why it matters: It marks the biggest weekend total yet, putting further strain on limited resources, including during hours the city is unstaffed to register and aid new migrants.

  • The latest surge is creating even more tension among federal, state and local Democrats, all looking up the food chain for more help.

Driving the news: Yesterday, Gov. JB Pritzker sent a letter to President Biden calling the situation "untenable" and urging the president to designate "a single office with an identified leader" to oversee the efforts of multiple federal agencies working on the issue.

Yes, but: Ald. Carlos Ramirez Rosa thinks the state must do more, calling on the Pritzker administration to "open and operate shelters just like New York State" in an X post on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the mayor's deputy chief of staff, Cristina Pacione-Zayas, is pointing the finger south, telling Politico that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is "beefing up contracts with busing fleets and plans to send them 24-7."

  • "If the trend continues, that means thousands of people daily."

By the numbers: As of Monday, more than 17,000 migrants have arrived in Chicago since August 2022, and nearly 9,660 are living in city shelters.

  • More than 2,920 are awaiting placement.
  • About 2,300 are waiting in CPD districts, plus 615 at O'Hare, and four at Midway.

Catch up fast: On Friday, Gov. JB Pritzker announced an additional $41.5 million of migrant aid to be distributed to areas, including:

  • Chicago: $30.25 million
  • Joliet: $8.6 million
  • Elgin: $1.27 million
  • Lake County: $1 million
  • Urbana: $250,000
  • Oak Park: $150,000

What we're watching: How the Johnson administration answers continuing questions about its plan to build migrant base camps with a company called GardaWorld.

  • More criticisms came up from Pritzker and alders during a city council committee meeting Friday, the Sun-Times and WBEZ report.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Chicago.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Chicago stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Chicago.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more