CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker appeared on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday to say the state needs “help from the White House” to meet the needs of non-citizen migrants being bused to Chicago from border states.
Last week, Pritzker sent a letter to President Joe Biden asking for federal help.
“On top of the 15,000 that have arrived in Chicago and Illinois over the last 13 months, we are now seeing busloads [of] more migrants at increasingly higher rates being sent specifically to Chicago each day. Unfortunately, the welcome and aid Illinois has been providing to these asylum seekers has not been matched with support by the federal government,” he said. “Most critically, the federal government’s lack of intervention and coordination at the border has created an untenable situation for Illinois.”
At the end of September, the state offered over $40 million in funding to Illinois communities outside of Chicago that would be willing to house, feed, and care for migrants.
On Sunday, Pritzker said the administration had “heard” him.
“We were very clear in our communication with the White House that what we need is logistical support, that is help deciding where these folks are to go, because they can’t all go to Chicago and New York, and D.C.,” he said. “They need to go in places where there’s even more help to offer. We, of course, are a welcoming state and have been caring for the people who’ve arrived. But we can’t bear the burden only ourselves.”
Pritzker suggested the White House create an office, headed by one executive, that would work with the states on immigration.
Chicago declared itself a “sanctuary city” for foreign migrants in 2021, and vowed to not cooperate with federal immigration authorities. The announcement was made in response to former President Donald Trump’s efforts to build a wall along the Texas border.
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).
Under U.S. immigration rules, immigrants seeking asylum in America are required to wait in their home country for 150 days after submitting their application for a work permit.
Governors in southern states, like Gov. Greg Abbott in Texas, said other states should share the burden of caring for tens of thousands of migrants that cross the border each day, and began busing them to the self-declared “sanctuary cities” in California, Washington D.C., New York, and Illinois.
Pritzker on Sunday said the crisis “needs to be a federal, national problem that gets handled at the national level.”
New York Mayor Eric Adams has said that his city has reached maximum capacity, and those seeking asylum are being misinformed about the availability of shelter and jobs.
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.