The 21st Show

State Legislators Meet For Veto Session; Unaccompanied Migrant Children In IL; Could Cahokia Mounds Become A National Park?


Amr Alfiky/AP

Last year, Democratic state lawmakers had a contentious veto session with then Governor Bruce Rauner. This time, they’re looking at a much less combative week with Governor JB Pritzker. Plus, About 70,000 unaccompanied minors have crossed the Southwestern border of the U.S. so far this year, but unaccompanied minors are in communities all over the country, including here in Illinois. And, every year hundreds of thousands of people visit the Cahokia Mounds. Now advocates, and some members of Illinois’ Congressional delegation, want to make the site Illinois’ first national park. 

Illinois Politics Update: Veto Session

Last year, then-Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed dozens bills during the legislature session. Then, the Democratically-controlled General Assembly came back in the fall to override many of them in what’s known as the veto session in the statehouse.

Today of course, state government is controlled entirely by the Democratic Party. And as legislators come back to Springfield for this year’s veto session, they’re looking at a much less combative week with the current Governor J.B. Pritzker.

Meanwhile, all of this is happening as President Donald Trump visits Chicago today for the first time since taking office.

Mark Maxwell is the capitol bureau chief and host of Capitol Connection on WCIA3. Joe Bustos reports on state politics for the Belleville News-Democrat. 

Unaccompanied Minors in Illinois

More than 70,000 unaccompanied migrant children have crossed the Southwest border so far this year. Many are fleeing gang violence and gender violence in their home countries and decide to make the long journey across Mexico but the path to asylum here in the U.S. isn’t a simple one, and there isn’t always a legal road to citizenship, even for young people. 

And that path doesn’t necessarily end in the border states, either. Illinois communities across the state have also seen an increase in unaccompanied migrant children from central America.

Lauren Aronson recently became director of the University of Illinois’ immigrant legal clinic. Hillary Richardson isa staff attorney with the National Immigrant Justice Center at Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights in Chicago. 

And Lisette Piedra is a professor of social work at the University of Illinois. 

Could Cahokia Mounds Become a National Park? (ENCORE) 

There are 61 national parks here in the U.S. but, so far, there are still none here in Illinois. Our state is home to the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area, but for many of us, the newly designated Indiana Dunes is our closest national park. 

This summer a bill was proposed that would designate Cahokia Mounds, and other related nearby sites, as a national park. Every year roughly 300,000 people visit the mounds which occupy more than 2,000 acres in the southwest corner of our state.  

We wanted to know more about Cahokia and the impact that a national park could make on our communities here in Illinois. Back in August, host Ryan Denham spoke with Ed Weilbacher, he’s the vice president of Heartlands Conservancy, an environmental and conservation non-profit in Belleville. 

Tamira Brennan also joined us from Carbondale. She’s the curator for collections at the Center for Archaeological Investigations at Southern Illinois Carbondale. And Bill Stewart is a professor in the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

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