Pritzker calls up Guard to help care for arriving migrants

(Pritzker closes on James R. Thompson Center sale)
Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 12:04 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday called up 75 members of the Illinois National Guard to help organize shelter, food and medical care for migrants arriving by bus from Texas.

About 500 people seeking asylum in the United States have been transported from the border by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott since the end of last month. Thousands have also been shipped to New York City and Washington, D.C., Democratic-led cities serving as sanctuaries for immigrants.

“While other states may be treating these vulnerable families as pawns, here in Illinois, we are treating them as people,” Pritzker said at a Chicago news conference.

But Pritzker said Abbott is sending busloads of migrants in the U.S. legally seeking asylum, without notice and attempts to communicate with Texas officials go unheeded. Pritzker’s emergency declaration speeds up procurement of needed supplies and the National Guard will help provide services they need.

“We are now 11 buses deep, and we know from speaking with our counterparts in New York and D.C., this will not relent,” said Grace Hou, secretary of Human Services.

Pritzker said officials have asked Texas to send the buses to welcoming centers, which are equipped to hand such newcomers, but the buses arrive at Union Station downtown.