Lightfoot declares a state of emergency. What a crock.
Your president brought this on. Whatever you're experiencing, Texas has it 10 times worse. Live by the sword, die by the sword.
Read Gov Abbott's letter to Lightfoot(link below). It's spot on. PS. I'm not a fan of Abbott but he's on target here.
Lightfoot declares emergency amid new surge of immigrant arrivals: ‘We’ve reached a breaking point’At an afternoon news conference, the mayor slammed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for busing new arrivals to Chicago, saying he had “manufactured” a crisis “for cynical political purposes,” and is “unable to see the humanity” those coming to the United States seeking a better life.
By Fran Spielman
May 9, 2023, 2:13pm CDT
Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Tuesday issued an emergency declaration as the city tries to deal with a surge of new arrivals in recent weeks.
The migrants, asylum-seekers and others, including many families, include another 48 people who arrived on Tuesday after they were “inhumanely” sent here by bus by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, according to Lightfoot.
Though Chicago is committed to welcoming new arrivals, “we’ve reached a breaking point,” Lightfoot said at an afternoon news conference.
The crisis has been “manufactured” by Abbott “for cynical political purposes,” Lightfoot said, adding that Abbott is “unable to see the humanity” of the people he is putting on buses and sending north.
Busing migrants to cities, including Chicago, where they have no relatives or sponsors, is the wrong approach, Lightfoot said.
“We are running out of spaces,” she said — or at least, running out of spaces that are truly suitable for use as emergency shelters.
Many continue to stay at police stations, though “we are trying to move them out as expeditiously as we can.”
A suggestion to use McCormick Place “is simply not a viable option,” Lightfoot said, given the potential harm it would do to the local economy, given the trade shows and other events already booked at the convention center.
“I stand ready to work on solutions,” she said. “Until then, the city will continue to live our values, doing the best we can under these circumstances.”
All told, the city, with help Cook County and the state of Illinois, has provided emergency care for over 8,000 new arrivals since last August, according to the mayor’s office. To handle the recent surge, the city has relied on various departments as well as community-based organizations to provide temporary shelters and respite centers.
“We should all understand that this crisis will likely deepen before we see it get better,” the mayor’s office said in a statement, so the city is continuing to seek additional funds from the state and federal governments.
Recent funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency is less than what was received last fall, Lightfoot noted, calling the lack of funding a slap in the face to Chicago and other cities.
“We shouldn’t have to come to this place, but here we are,” Lightfoot she said at the news conference. “We need a national solution to this national challenge.”
Here’s how to help immigrants arriving in Chicago
Lightfoot’s decision to declare a state of emergency follows a sometimes contentious City Council hearing Tuesday that culminated in the Budget Committee voting to earmark $51 million in 2021 surplus funds to cover a shortfall in city spending for the migrant crisis.
The hearing dragged on for two hours and featured familiar arguments about alderpersons being blindsided by the arrival of asylum-seekers in their wards and complaints that the $51 million spent to feed and house immigrants would be better spent on Chicagoans living in long-neglected neighborhoods.
Three alderpersons voted “No” to the funding transfer, which is less than half the $112 million the city needs through the end of June: 17th Ward Ald. David Moore; 38th Ward Ald. Nick Sposato and 41st Ward Ald. Anthony Napolitano.
The mayor’s declaration empowers the chief procurement officer with sweeping purchasing powers similar to those granted to that department during the pandemic.
It directs city department heads to “undertake whatever efforts are feasible pursuant to their powers and duties and to direct their employees accordingly to manage this declared emergency.”
The mayor’s order also holds out the possibility of a request for additional state help.
“I reserve the authority to request the Governor of the State of Illinois to mobilize the National Guard to provide staffing and logistical support to address this emergency in the city of Chicago,” the declaration states.
At a joint City Council committee hearing late last month, alderpersons were told Chicago is out of money, space and time to handle the humanitarian crisis caused by asylum-seekers descending on the city, with 40,000 people waiting at the border and a surge that has yet to peak.
The calamity is so dire — with young families sleeping on the floors of police stations and “walk-ins” rising from 10 to 125 a day — the city is now being forced to make “hard decisions” that include taking Brands Park Field House and Leone Beach Field House offline and using shuttered South Shore High School as emergency shelter for asylum-seekers.
Forty-ninth Ward Ald. Maria Hadden, whose ward includes Leone Field House, has argued that McCormick Place, Navy Pier or shuttered big-box stores should be used to house asylum-seekers descending on Chicago, instead of “playing whack-a-mole” and inconveniencing multiple Chicago neighborhoods.
“We need central locations. We need large spaces. We could better utilize our staffing time if we knew we had a large space,” Hadden told the Sun-Times last week.
“McCormick Place has lots of different facilities. If we had a large space that could accommodate, like, thousands of people, then we wouldn’t have to spend as much time kind of playing whack-a-mole on a bunch of smaller facilities, which both costs a lot of time and energy that runs into stepping on the toes in communities where, maybe, they don’t have time to ask for permission or do a real engagement process,” Hadden said.
Hadden pointed to what she called the “constant balance” between “the burden that Chicago neighborhoods versus downtown have to absorb.”
“There’s a reason that McCormick Place was stood up and put together as a COVID response place. Because from a logistics and emergency management perspective, it just would be ideal,” she said. “And if it’s not McCormick, then some other big-box space where it’s a large facility where we can really bring more people and more resources to one or two locations as opposed to trying to manage a dozen.”
This is a developing story. Check back for details.