Pritzker’s Texas disaster declaration comes as pandemic disaster expires
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a disaster declaration because over 500 immigrants were bused to Chicago by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. This disaster is atop the pandemic disaster he is expected to renew for the 34th time.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a disaster declaration to fast-track resources for more than 500 immigrants that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott bused to Chicago, which declared itself a sanctuary city.
Pritzker complained about the lack of notice. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot then sent some migrants on to the suburbs.
Abbott called Pritzker and Lightfoot “hypocrites” for sending the immigrants to the suburbs without notifying those towns’ leaders.
Lightfoot said she talked to mayors in surrounding suburbs about housing immigrants, but at least one mayor was surprised. Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson said he received few details from Lightfoot when a bus arrived in his town from Chicago.
The disaster declaration gives Pritzker greater flexibility in providing resources from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and other state agencies. Pritzker is also activating 75 members of the Illinois National Guard to help distribute resources.
Pritzker used the same powers to manage the pandemic, and two and one-half years later is still using emergency declarations to run the state. He’s on his 33rd disaster declaration, which expires Sept. 17. If he again gives himself the emergency powers, it will mark the 34th declaration for the same “emergency.”
Emergency powers are only intended to be used for 30 days as a governor handles an emergency that demands fast action. After the 30 days, state lawmakers should debate and set policy. An emergency becomes situation normal after more than two years.
At the end of the current proclamation, Pritzker will have held emergency powers for 919 of his 1,341 days in office, or 68% of his term.
Since the early days of the pandemic, Pritzker has used those powers to issue 116 executive orders related to COVID-19. He hinted at lifting them back in April, but has been silent on it recently.
Pritzker actually has three statewide disaster declarations going at once. He issued a 30-day disaster proclamation for the monkeypox virus at the start of August, then issued another 30-day disaster for monkeypox Aug. 30 – repeated disasters from the same issue with no weigh-in from state lawmakers on the policies he’s imposing or limits on when those powers will end.
Abbott has been busing foreign nationals specifically to cities that don’t cooperate with federal immigration authorities, known as “sanctuary cities.” Before Chicago, Abbott sent buses to Washington, D.C., and New York City.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis followed that Sept. 14 by sending two planes of Venezuelean immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard. Red state governors are using the tactic of sharing the human flood with progressive areas to protest a significant rise in illegal immigration under President Joe Biden’s policies.
Buses from Texas are arriving in Chicago almost daily.
“We do expect this number to grow,” Lightfoot said. “We started out with one or two buses, and now we’re seeing a regular cadence.”
Welcome to Illinois, where disasters sit atop disasters.