CHICAGO, IL – The State of Illinois has revealed a $160 million initiative to enhance the response to the influx of over 24,000 asylum seekers. The plan, announced by Governor JB Pritzker Thursday, aims to resolve bottlenecks in the asylum process, especially at intake points, shelters, and during the transition to independence.
Key aspects of the reported plan include establishing a $30 million intake center for efficient coordination and a $65 million investment in a temporary shelter in Chicago, prioritizing families and individuals with disabilities. Additionally, another $65 million will expand services in city shelters to assist asylum seekers in becoming self-sufficient.
This new funding is part of Illinois’ broader commitment of $478 million for FY 2023 and 2024 to support asylum seekers. It includes shelter, food, medical care, rental assistance, and casework services. The plan also involves expediting Temporary Protect Status (TPS) and Employment Authorization Document (EAD) processes, with large-scale workshops for legal assistance and job search resources.
Complementing these efforts, policy adjustments will optimize shelter stays and enhance case management. The Asylum Seeker Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ASERAP) will also be modified for broader reach.
Governor Pritzker continues to seek federal support, having reached out to President Biden for expanded federal assistance. The collaboration between state and city agencies reflects a commitment to managing this humanitarian crisis with compassion and efficiency.