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In letter to Biden, IL governor criticizes response to migrant crisis

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker accuses the federal government of lacking coordination and intervention at the U.S.-Mexico border.
In letter to Biden, IL governor criticizes response to migrant crisis
Posted at 10:40 AM, Oct 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-04 20:04:48-04

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker is criticizing the federal government's response to the migrant crisis. 

In a letter to President Joe Biden, the Democrat says Illinois has taken in over 15,000 people in the last 13 months. While Pritzker says he believes in their rights to find refuge in the U.S., he notes that the state is becoming overwhelmed. 

"This situation is untenable and requires your immediate help beyond the coming work authorizations for some of the asylum seekers," Pritzker wrote. 

The governor accuses the federal government of lacking coordination and intervention at the U.S.-Mexico border, and calls on President Biden to take numerous actions to address the problem. 

SEE MORE: Adviser to NYC mayor calls for Biden to 'close the border'

Pritzker is requesting that the White House name a point-person to communicate what the federal government is doing to assist with the humanitarian crisis. Pritzker notes that numerous agencies are currently involved, which can create confusion. 

Conceding Congress' inaction on immigration reform, Prtizker also asks President Biden to use his authority to provide funding for places where migrants are being sent. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has been sending buses of migrants to Democrat-run cities and states, saying border towns shouldn't take on the full burden. Pritzker wants the federal government to do more to coordinate where migrants are going. 

"Our nation is large and resourceful," Priztker wrote. "Allowing just one state to lay the burden upon a certain few states run by Democrats is untenable."

Pritzer had a call with the White House on Monday, which was described by a member of the administration as productive. 

In a statement to Scripps News, a spokesperson for the White House said it is working closely with Illinois and other states and cities across the country to address the issue. The spokesperson also notes that communities across the country are being supported by a $1 billion grant approved by Congress. Another $4 billion request is being held up in Congress, which has repeatedly failed to take up immigration reform, the spokesperson said. 

"Without the help of Congress, the Administration has been taking action: since May 12, we have removed or returned over a quarter million individuals," the spokesperson said. "We have moved to accelerate the processing of work permits – working to decrease the median processing time from many from 90 to 30 days."

During an event Tuesday, Prtizker spoke about the letter and noted that this wasn't the first type of communication he's had with the White House about the issue.

"We wanted to make sure that there was a statement out there of many of the things that we talked about in the past with the administration," Pritzker said

He added that the letter lets the White House know about the immediate and longterm needs in Illinois. 

Since the letter was made public, Pritzker said he has spoken with the White House. He expressed confidence that the administration is making an effort to do what it can to fulfill the requests laid out in the letter.

"They have said they want to be responsive of those things and they're kind of working down the list to see what they can do immediately and what they might be able to do in the near term," Pritzker said. 

However, when it comes to the recommendations, it's likely the administration still sees still financial barriers, legal questions and issues with Republican states' unwillingness to communicate.


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