The number of people seeking sanctuary in the Chicago area is growing significantly, according to a local agency that helps refugees resettle in the city.
"Right now, we are experiencing a really crazy surge in arrivals," Lea Tienou told an audience of college students as well as immigrant and refugee service providers and advocates.
Tienou is associate director of refugee family adjustment and employment services at the Heartland Alliance. She spoke Monday afternoon at DePaul University's Loop campus as part of a panel discussion about the global refugee crisis.
The Heartland Alliance typically sees about 20 refugees per month, Tienou explained. Just in the last month, however, 100 refugees came to the agency, and 90 more are expected to seek assistance from the Heartland Alliance in September.
"It's been a really busy time, and this is throughout the country that we're seeing a really large influx of arrivals," she said.
When Illinoisans hit the polls in November, they will see a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot asking whether the state should put transportation funding in a "lockbox" so that it cannot be used for non-related spending.
If the amendment passes, the Illinois Constitution would be amended to ensure transportation funding is safeguarded from being spent on other purposes, like balancing the state budget.
Citizens to Protect Transportation Funding, a coalition of business, labor and construction groups, is leading the advocacy effort in support of the so-called "Safe Roads Amendment," which made it onto the November 8 ballot after strong bipartisan approval from the state legislature.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Reps. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL,4) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL,8) are scheduled to attend a Monday morning roundtable discussion in Chicago on "commonsense" immigration reform.
Poverty fell and median household income grew last year in Illinois, according to new figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. While experts were encouraged by the improvement, they cautioned that things are far from rosy in the Prairie State.
Five Chicago aldermen want to surplus funds from a tax increment financing, or TIF, district located in their wards and use the money to help "alleviate the budget crisis" at the cash-strapped Chicago Public Schools.