Democratic governors to Biden: Migrant crisis is ‘untenable,’ border ‘too open’

By Greg Bishop | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is telling President Joe Biden the numbers of migrants arriving to Chicago from the southern U.S. border are accelerating. The situation is overwhelming, untenable and uncoordinated, he added. 

Biden with governors

President Joe Biden greets Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, from left, Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. 
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

In a letter Pritzker sent the White House Monday, the governor says, “the humanitarian crisis is overwhelming our ability to provide aid to the refugee population.” More than 15,000 migrants have arrived in Chicago in the past 13 months. 

With the letter, Pritzker joined a growing list of Democrats calling on the White House to do more.

“Unfortunately, the welcome and aid Illinois has been providing to these asylum seekers has not been matched with support by the federal government,” the letter first reported by Capitol Fax said. “Most critically, the federal government’s lack of intervention and coordination at the border has created an untenable situation for Illinois.”

Illinois taxpayers have covered more than $330 million on services for the migrants, a number Pritzker said is growing each day. 

“That’s a massive amount of money for a state still overcoming the health and economic effects of COVID-19,” Pritzker said. “Add to that the over $100 million the city of Chicago contributed.”

Pritzker told Biden the situation is “untenable” and “requires your immediate help beyond the coming work authorizations for some of the asylum seekers.” 

The Biden administration should have one person provide oversight of the nation’s efforts at the border, Pritzker said, noting there are too many different federal department contacts who are not coordinated with each other.

“A single office with an identified leader must be assigned to work for the cities and states across the silos of government to manage the challenges we all face,” Pritzker said. “It is time for the federal government to take a much more active role in managing the transport and destination of the transport of asylum seekers.”

Pritzker said it is untenable to allow “just one state to lay the burden upon a certain few states run by Democrats …”

While Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, has been critical of Biden’s handling of the border by overseeing transportation of migrants crossing the southern U.S. border to Chicago, New York City, Washington D.C., and elsewhere, Democratic Mayor of El Paso Oscar Leeser has also been involved

In Arizona Monday, Gov. Katie Hobbs also expressed frustration with the flood of illegal border crossers and told The Center Square that the busing policy of some migrants from Arizona to other areas of the country is still in effect.

“Yeah. As we’re seeing increases in folks coming in the NGO network at their capacity, we’re continuing to provide support, and that includes busing,” she said. 

In New York, a senior advisor to New York City Mayor Eric Adams urged Biden to “close the border.” 

“The federal government needs to do its job,” Adams’ advisor Ingrid Lewis-Martin told PIX 11. “We need the federal government, the Congress members, the Senate, and the president to do its job: Close the borders.”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul  told CBS Sunday that the border “is too open right now.”

“People coming from all over the world are finding their way through, simply saying they need asylum, and the majority of them seem to be ending up in the streets of New York, and that is a real problem for New York City,” she said

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre addressed border security concerns.

“You have a president that has delivered record funding, record funding to make sure that we have additional … border patrol federal employees at the border,” Jean-Pierre said. “We’ve made clear that attempting to cross the border unlawfully will result in prompt removal, a five-year ban on reentry and potential criminal prosecution.” 

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre during a press briefing Monday

Among other recommendations, Pritzker offered Biden include waiving fees for temporary protected status applications, increasing the logistical coordination and data collection, provide financial support to state, local government and non-government organizations for housing, food, and social services and approve Illinois’ requests for Medicaid waivers, housing vouchers and federal coordination and support. 

“Today, Illinois stands mostly unsupported against this enormous strain on our state resources,” Pritzker said. “Mr. President, I urge you … and the rest of your administration to take swift action.”

+ posts

The Center Square was launched in May 2019 to fulfill the need for high-quality statehouse and statewide news across the United States.

The focus of our work is state- and local-level government and economic reporting. A taxpayer sensibility distinguishes our work from other coverage of state and local issues. As a result of this approach, our readers are better informed about the focus of state and local government and its cost to the citizens whose tax dollars fund governmental decisions.

The Center Square is staffed by editors and reporters with extensive professional journalism experience. We engage readers with essential news, data and analysis – delivered with velocity, frequency and consistency.

Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
tom mckenney
tom mckenney
6 months ago

The Democrats asked for open borders. Jihad Joe gave them what they asked for. How many gang members have come in? How many terrorists? We have not seen yet what the terrorists plan to do. They are patient and are planning on something big. Remember 911? Close the border now!

6 months ago

This is what happens when there is no forward thinking and long term plan in place. The writing was on the wall from the very beginning.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x