JOLIET TOWNSHIP, Ill. — Residents of Joliet Township packed Tuesday night’s board meeting after the township received the State of Illinois Asylum Seeker Grant.
Some of the residents were outraged and angered over what some said was a lack of involvement.
The $8.6 million grant issued to Joliet Township helps fund municipalities that are welcoming asylum seekers.
“Where was the representation from the very communities this is going to affect?” Rev. Larry Ellis asked.
Township Supervisor Angel Contreras said the issues were discussed at a meeting in September.
“The inclusion of the City of Joliet and Joliet Fire Department logos was an overnight, however, both institutions were involved about the grant meeting, a meeting that took place at City Hall and that has been documented,” Contreras said.
The mayor of Joliet, which operates independently from the township, asked the township board to give the money back.
Contreras said the grant was needed to assist already strained organizations.
“The Spanish Community Center has already documented at least 2,200 people seeking assistance through their organizations since last year,” Contreras said. “Will-Grundy Medical Center has seen an increase demand for their services and local food pantries have been under strain. The purpose of this grant was to help our community partners.”
Still, among the loud crowd, some residents spoke in defense of the board the migrants in need.
The township attorney said there was no final action to the grant on the agenda tonight.