CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker on Tuesday told reporters he encouraged working with the federal government to deport non-citizen migrants who are not seeking asylum.
This comes after an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, in which he called upon the White House for financial help to meet the needs of non-citizen migrants being bused to Chicago from border states.
“Shortly after our letter went to the White House, a determination was made to expand the return of refugees who do not qualify for refugee status,” Pritzker said. “If they don’t meet the requirements for someone who can stay, we’re making sure, the federal government anyway, is making sure that those folks are returned.”
Buses carrying over 15,000 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.
Pritzker said he has concerns about a $29 million tent camp planned to house migrants currently staying at the city’s police stations.
To encourage other cities in the Chicago region to take in the migrants, Pritzker announced $41.5 million in grants to pay for shelter and housing support, food, legal support, and health care.
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.
The migrants arriving in the Chicago area have bypassed the country’s legal immigration system.
Chicago and Illinois taxpayers have set aside $94 million for migrant housing, and the state has budgeted $550 million for migrant health care, but authorities say there is no end in sight to the arrivals and critics say the cost will fall on taxpayers.
“The governor had no problem with these busloads coming as long as they were in other states. Now all of a sudden that they are in our state, he admits, ‘oh, well maybe I was wrong about these things, maybe they are unsustainable,’ but here we are and we’ve got to change policies or we’re going to be in even worse shape,” Sen. Steve McClure (R-Springfield) said, according to The Center Square.