Illinois governor asked Biden for help with migrant influx

Illinois Governor Jay Robert Pritzker sent a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden criticizing the federal government’s handling of the immigration crisis and asking for additional support.

“Today, Illinois has almost no support to combat the tremendous strain that is being placed on our state’s resources. With the number of migrants being brought to Chicago on the rise, the humanitarian crisis is outstripping our ability to assist refugees,” the governor wrote in the letter.

Pritzker said the state’s assistance “has not been matched by support from the federal government,” and the passivity of U.S. authorities in helping migrants and the lack of coordination at the border “has created an intolerable situation for Illinois.”

Pritzker, who is also an adviser to Biden’s campaign staff, called on the White House to appoint a single coordinator of migrant assistance efforts at the federal level. Also the head of Illinois asked the federal authorities to more actively coordinate the transportation of migrants from the state of Texas to other American regions. In his opinion, the administration “refuses to accept responsibility” after the U.S. border service “released migrants into the interior of the country.”

In addition, the governor asked Biden for additional financial support to fight the migration crisis. So far, Pritzker clarified, Illinois and Chicago have received only “modest funding” of $34 million from the federal government. In total, the state has spent about $330 million to help migrant arrivals, but not all of that money has gone to Chicago, the state’s largest city, which has been hit hardest. Chicago has allocated $144 million to work with migrants, the total spending on aid from 2022 should grow to $363 million, the city authorities believe.

From August 2022, the number of migrants arriving in the state this week will rise to 20,000 from 15,000 last week. The number could double by the end of the month with more than a thousand migrants arriving in the state every day. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson raised the issue of the immigration crisis when they spoke with Biden administration officials on Oct. 1. They argued that the crisis would soon move to a new stage because of the influx of migrants.

Hundreds of undocumented migrants are squatting at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and more than 2,000 migrants are living in tents on police station grounds. Most of the arrivals were able to be housed in 21 shelters provided by city authorities.

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