CHICAGO — Governor JB Pritzker and Mayor Brandon Johnson sent a joint letter to the Homeland Security secretary to allow migrants to get a job faster.
The city is also taking steps to house about 550 migrants at a former Marine Corps facility on the city’s Northwest Side, that has been vacant for about eight to 10 months.
The city would buy the former facility from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District for about $1.5 million. It is located on Foster, just west of the river and Kedzie.
The facility itself would still need some upgrades, but city staff says the facility is in pretty good shape and has existing showers and a cafeteria.
The city will also have to come up with maintenance costs, which is estimated to be aroung $43,000 a year. The full Chicago City Council will need to approve in order to purchase.
If it is approved, migrants could begin moving in about three weeks later. It is up for a vote in mid-September.
The city says about 500 migrants are still in police stations and another 300 are at O’Hare.
Pritzker and Johnson sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas asking for approval to allow state sponsored non-citizens to help fill existing jobs.
The joint letter says it would help migrants avoid being exploited. The letter also asked for more federal money to help with the migrant crisis in Chicago and the state.
So far, the city has spent about $50 million and the state has spent about $250 million — those numbers coming from city staff. They also say the federal government has only offered about $21 million to help.
More than 13,000 migrants have been bussed to Chicago since last year, mostly coming from Texas.
The mayor will meet with the secretary of Homeland Security this week.