CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson joined mayors from New York City, Los Angeles, Denver, and Houston to ask President Joe Biden for $5 billion in federal funding to provide services to an “overwhelming” influx of non-citizen migrants.
Johnson made the trip to Washington on Thursday.
According to The Center Square, the mayors told the president that their cities would have to cut essential services if they did not receive supplemental government funding.
“To address this crisis without further delay, we are requesting an urgent meeting with you to directly discuss ways we can work with your administration to avoid large numbers of additional asylum seekers being brought to our cities with little to no coordination, support, or resources,” the mayors wrote in a letter.
The administration has distributed $1.4 billion in grant funding so far.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimates that more than 600,000 people have entered the country illegally in 2023, and another 900,000 were either intercepted or turned themselves in to pursue asylum.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection said 3.2 million people crossed the border in the 2023 fiscal year, the most recorded in U.S. history.
In their letter, in addition to the request for federal funding, the mayors asked Biden to accelerate the approval of work permits for migrants and create a mechanism to greet and coordinate the movement of migrants who cross the southern border.
On Wednesday, Gov. JB Pritzker said federal leaders should stop migrants from coming to Illinois in droves over the winter, saying the lack of shelter will make the Midwest cold more dangerous.
“There are other places in the country they can go and the federal government ought to be helping to manage the logistics so people can go to places where they survive through the winter,” he said.
Pritzker previously said his administration had sent a letter to the White House for financial help to meet the needs of non-citizen migrants being bussed to Chicago from border states.
Buses carrying over 20,000 migrants, who illegally crossed the southern border of the U.S., have arrived in Chicago this year after the city declared itself a “sanctuary city” in 2021.
According to the city’s Sanctuary City Ordinance, Chicago authorities do not ask an individual’s immigration status or report noncitizens to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which would deport them to their home countries.
The declaration, made by Democratic former Mayor Lori Lightfoot, was in response to former President Donald Trump’s goal to build a wall along the Texas border. In response, southern governors began sending buses of migrants to Chicago and other self-declared “sanctuary cities” nationwide.
Pritzker recently said he has concerns about a $29 million tent camp planned to house migrants currently staying at the city’s police stations and suggested housing migrants in unused buildings, such as closed schools.
Pritzker and Johnson previously sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security asking to let people seeking asylum get to work more quickly.
The city has announced that it will be deploying 16 warming buses to keep the migrants warm.
Under U.S. immigration law, foreign nationals seeking asylum in America are required to wait in their home country for 150 days after submitting their application for a work permit.