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City Council Latino Caucus urges Mayor Lightfoot to declare state of emergency over migrants from Texas

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CHICAGO (CBS) -- The City Council Latino Caucus is calling on Mayor Lori Lightfoot to declare a state of emergency over the growing number of migrants being brought to Chicago from Texas continues to grow.

A group of 125 more asylum seekers who had crossed the Texas-Mexico border arrived in Chicago on Wednesday, bringing the total number of refugees who have been bused to Chicago from Texas this year to 2,991, according to Chicago city officials.

"This systemic pattern of transporting migrants to our city continues and does not seem to be slowing," the City Council Latino Caucus said in a statement.

The caucus – which has 13 members who are either Latino or represent Hispanic-majority wards – asked Lightfoot to declare a state of emergency to help the city further protect the migrants who are arriving in Chicago.

"This will give the appropriate city agencies the ability to establish and operate more centers that will provide assistance for arriving asylum seekers including respite, food, medical care, case work services, assessment of settlement options, as well as direct referrals to alternative emergency supports," the caucus said.

A spokesman for Lightfoot's office noted Gov. JB Pritzker last month issued a disaster proclamation and deployed 75 members of the Illinois National Guard to help provide resources to support refugees arriving in Chicago from Texas, and said those efforts helped provide necessary assistance to the migrants.

Lightfoot's office also noted her 2023 budget proposal includes $5 million for a program helping migrants who are being bused to the city.

"The City of Chicago is committed to continuing our collaboration with the State of Illinois, Cook County Government, nonprofit leaders, and federal partners to support the individuals and families who have arrived from Texas. Earlier this month, the Mayor proposed additional funding in the 2023 budget recommendations to support our work of providing human services with respect and dignity," a Lightfoot spokesperson said in an email.

The Latino Caucus' push for a state of emergency in Chicago comes less than a week after New York Mayor Eric Adams declared a state of emergency there as the number of migrants bused to New York City also continues to grow.

Adams said more than 17,000 asylum seekers have been bused to New York since April, with 42 emergency shelters constructed, and 5,500 children enrolled in school. 

 "Stop sending buses to New York. New York cannot accommodate the numbers of buses we have coming to our city," Adams said. 

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