Chicago’s escalating migrant crisis
Happy Tuesday, Illinois. Navy Pier fireworks are No. 1, according to USA Today. But we already knew that.
Texas continues to send asylum seekers to Chicago, while the city’s ability to take them is becoming untenable.
With no place to go, migrants are staying in police stations, where there are reports of expired food, infections and infestations, report Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba and Elvia Malagón.
Speaking up: Gov. JB Pritzker has sought additional funding, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot wrote Texas Gov. Greg Abbott over the weekend, “appealing to [his] better nature to stop this inhumane action.”
Abbott passed the buck. He sent a letter to Lightfoot on Monday advising her “to call on President Joe Biden to secure the border. … You are right that ‘this situation is completely untenable,’ but this is not a Texas problem — this is a problem for the entire United States of America.”
Lightfoot answered with a tweet, calling Abbott: “a politician who continues to race to the bottom to score political points with no regard for the human lives involved or the consequences.”
The debate about migrants is intensifying as Chicago braces for a surge of asylum seekers when Title 42, a Covid-era border restriction, is lifted later this month.
The dilemma for Chicago is finding enough funding to help social service agencies provide the food, housing and other care for the migrants who land in Chicago. The city has opened its arms to more than 8,100 migrants since last August and says it needs $20 million a month to support them.
“We’re tapped out,” Lightfoot said Monday on CNN.
The city had asked for $50 million from the state to help with those efforts but only got about half of that.
Neither Pritzker nor Lightfoot are criticizing the White House, as New York Mayor Eric Adams did the other day, via POLITICO.
Instead, Pritzker said Illinois is working with the federal government to get funding. “The federal government has dollars available. We’ve applied for every one those dollars available to us. And we hope to receive those over the next month or so,” Pritzker told WGN’s Paul Lisnek.
GEARING UP: The inauguration of Chicago Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson and the new City Council is two weeks away, but big changes are already under way in how the two arms of city government will operate.
Johnson named John Roberson as chief operating officer of Chicago. Roberson is a City Hall veteran who’s worked in the departments of Aviation, Housing Authority and Park District. He most recently worked for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, one of Johnson’s most powerful supporters.
How he got here: Like newly appointed Chief of Staff Rich Guidice, Roberson is an alum of Mayor Richard M. Daley’s administration, notes Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
The Chicago City Council, meanwhile, is working to firm up committees ahead of inauguration. It will be a first for the City Council. Usually the mayor decides who governs under which committee.
Veteran aldermen are working to make the council an independent body. All 50 members — including those who backed Johnson for mayor — have spoken up about which committees they’d prefer to serve on. Here’s where the list stands now.
What will Johnson say? Time will tell whether the committees or their leaders stay intact after the new mayor is sworn in. Johnson has said he supports an independent council. But he also wants allies to help get his legislation across the finish line.
If you are John Roberson, Playbook would like to hear from you. Email [email protected].
No official public events.
At the Chicago Cultural Center at 9:30 a.m. to announce 133 finalists for $54 million in economic development grants.
In Springfield to meet with members of the Illinois General Assembly.
Thank you for reading Playbook! Drop me a line sometime: [email protected]
— At least 6 dead, more than 30 injured after dust storm causes crashes and shutdown of I-55 near Springfield, police say: “The crashes were caused by “excessive winds blowing dirt from farm fields across the highway leading to zero visibility,” State Police said. Maj. Ryan Starrick, with the Illinois State Police, said the dust storm was a spring version of a “whiteout situation” typically seen in snowstorms,” by Tribune’s Shanzeh Ahmad and Angie Leventis Lourgos and The Associated Press’ John O’Connor.
— Gov. JB Pritzker called it “horrific,” and Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton praised first-responders.
And here’s what the vehicle damage looks like, via CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar.
— Medicaid renewals resume for first time since beginning of Covid-19 pandemic: “State officials are urging all Medicaid recipients to update their information within the Illinois Medicaid program to ensure their benefits are not wrongly ended due to the state being unable to contact them. Medicaid recipients can do so, and can check their enrollment status, by visiting abe.illinois.gov and clicking ‘Manage My Case’ to set up an online account,” by Capitol News’ Jerry Nowicki.
— Only two states ban declawing cats. Will Illinois become the 3rd? Legislation passed by the Illinois House and heading to the Senate “would levy an escalating series of fines against anyone caught removing a cat’s claws for anything other than medical or therapeutic reasons,” reports Tribune’s Hank Sanders.
— 150 years later, Dixon bridge tragedy among nation’s worst: “The 1869 bridge collapse in Dixon, Illinois, remains the worst vehicular-bridge disaster in American history,” by The Associated Press’ John O’Connor.
— CPD’s former No. 3 official emerges as front-runner for interim top cop — and maybe an audition for permanent job: “Fred Waller spent 34 years with the department, rising through the ranks before joining a parade of top brass who left during the turbulent tenure of former Supt. David Brown,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman and Tom Schuba.
— SCOOP: FBI searched Ald. Jim Gardiner’s text messages amid probe into alleged $5,000 cash payment from developer, court records show: “The partially redacted FBI search warrant application was made public Monday, as there is no indication Gardiner will be charged in connection with the alleged conduct. A spokesperson for the U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment Monday on the status of the investigation. As a general policy, the office does not confirm when an investigation ends without charges,” by Tribune’s John Byrne, A.D. Quig and Jason Meisner.
— Mayor Lightfoot loves libraries and gives the city a trio of new ones on South and West sides as parting gifts, by Tribune’s Rick Kogan
— Guggenheim Partners readying move to Miami, by Crain’s Greg Hinz
— The appointment process has begun to replace state Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, who is heading to a job in City Hall. Six political organizations have formed to lead “The People’s Appointment” process to vet applicants for the Senate vacancy. Democratic committee members have 30 days to fill the vacancy. Residents of the 20th District state Senate can sign up here for information about running.
— The Uihleins give big in first quarter, but not in Illinois: Dick Uihlein, “the suburbs’ most prodigious political donor, and his wife made about $6.9 million in campaign contributions in the year’s first quarter — but only one went to a candidate in Illinois,” by Daily Herald’s Russell Lissau.
— Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett requests more information on Naperville gun sale ban, by Daily Herald’s Susan Sarkauskas
— Kane County considers spending $240K on lobbying, by Daily Herald’s James Fuller
— Quentin Fulks started his new job helping run President Joe Biden’s reelection bid, and he marked it by tweeting out “a new digital ad” focused on Biden’s track record.
— Joakim Noah, the former Bulls star and co-founder of Noah’s Arc Foundation, is starting the One City Basketball League as an approach to reducing violence. The 28-team league will provide off-the-court programs and job opportunities, writes Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley
— Teamsters have reached a deal with Chicago dispensaries: Employees at five dispensaries owned by PharmaCann in the Chicago-area market have reached a tentative agreement with the company on an initial labor contract that will impact more than 100 workers. The proposal will boost wages by 20 percent over the life of the contract and increase the number of full-time jobs, according to Teamsters Local 777, which represents the workers. Employees at the five Verilife-branded dispensaries are in the process of voting on the proposed contract, with the results expected in a few days, according to POLITICO’s cannabis newsletter.
We asked what issue will dominate Illinois in 2024.
Rosemary Caruk: Public health.
David Goldenberg: “Those with extreme views who have had success in school board and local elections being in a position to influence the 2024 election.”
John Straus: Worker, labor and union issues.
Patricia Ann Watson: Issues surrounding migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.
What’s your most memorable adventure driving to or from Springfield? (Open with “the time I…”). Email [email protected]
— Leonard Leo, who helped Trump choose jurists, used Federalist Society contact to obtain $1.6B donation, by POLITICO’s Heidi Przybyla
— Get out the popcorn: Trump to appear May 10 at CNN town hall in New Hampshire, via CNN
— E. Jean Carroll concludes testimony as judge denies Trump’s mistrial request, by POLITICO’s Erica Orden
— Fast-approaching debt deadline jolts a flat-footed Congress, by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett and Caitlin Emma
— Linda Kuczma has joined Barnes & Thornburg’s Intellectual Property group in Chicago as of counsel, coming from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, where she served as an administrative trademark judge.
— Linda Lenz, kept generations of Chicago Public Schools parents informed through her nonprofit publication Catalyst, dead at 77, by Sun-Times’ Mitch Dudek
— Harry “Hud” Augustine Englehart III, 76, a longtime strategic communications adviser, has died. Here’s his obit. And here’s some background on his career.
— The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale announced inaugural recipients of the Paul Simon Democracy Prize. They are Naya Busbea from McKendree University in Lebanon, Ill.; Emma McConnell, Vivian Walter, LaMya Roach and Darian Chess from SIU Carbondale; and Connor Wielgos from the University of Illinois Chicago.
— May 9: The Dave Caucus Party will feature the Boat Drink Caucus band, with headlining guitarist and state Senate President Don Harmon. The event came about when three lobbyists named Dave
— Feller, Lundy and Sullivan — were grabbing a drink at Celtic Mist Pub in Springfield and thought “wouldn’t it be fun to have a Dave party?” It’s a take-off, of course, of the annual Sullivan Caucus Party hosted by a group of folks named Sullivan. Dave Caucus details here
MONDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Alimyon Allen for correctly answering that a memorial at Cermak and Archer avenues in Chicago honors Chinese Americans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and reads “Honor, Duty, Family, Community, Nation.”
TODAY’s QUESTION: What Chicago church had Susan B. Anthony, George Washington Carver, Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Wells, Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama speak from its pulpit? Email [email protected]
Cook County Circuit Court Judge Ieshia Gray, former state rep and former Chicago alderperson Deb Graham, Res Publica Group CEO Guy Chipparoni, Chicago attorney Graham Grady, political cartoonist Scott Stantis and Young Democrats of Illinois deputy comms director Luke Hughes.
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May 2, 2023 at 08:38AM