You can add Democratic Governor of Illinois JB Pritzker to the list of liberals who support sanctuary cities, so long as no one actually comes to take sanctuary. In a letter to the White House, the Illinois governor has called on President Biden to provide more federal funding to help the thousands of asylum seekers who have arrived in Chicago.
According to CNN, Pritzker joined Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson to confront “top White House officials late Sunday, demanding they take fast and concrete steps to address a migrant crisis they believe is about to reach a breaking point in the Windy City, according to two people on the call.
On a conference call they pushed for on short notice, the two Democratic leaders and aides laid out concerns about Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott ramping up the number of buses bringing migrants to the city, arguing that it could double the number of migrants there – currently more than 17,000 – just as temperatures begin to drop in a city famous for its harsh winters.
White House intergovernmental affairs director Tom Perez, who was on the call along with White House chief of staff Jeff Zients, urged Chicago to follow the “best practices” put in place in New York, where new efforts have launched to try to help migrants obtain work permits. But that did little to quell concerns held by Pritzker and Johnson, who also observed New York City and state officials grapple with the arrival of thousands of migrants.”
Despite the White House saying that the call with the two Illinois Democrats went productively, it’s clear that Pritzker did not see it that way. The governor wasn’t satisfied with what he heard and sent a follow-up letter to Biden for the public to read.
After the tense call, the governor sent a letter to the president, writing that “in the 13 months since the first bus of asylum seekers arrived in Illinois from the border, our state has undertaken an unprecedented humanitarian response to the arrival of now over 15,000 people. Governors and mayors from border states have shipped people to our state like cargo in a dehumanizing attempt to score political points. The people of Illinois are kind and generous. We believe in the fundamental right of every human, especially those facing persecution, to find refuge and live with dignity in this great country of ours.
But as the numbers being transported to Chicago are accelerating, the humanitarian crisis is overwhelming our ability to provide aid to the refugee population. Unfortunately, the welcome and aid Illinois has been providing to these asylum seekers has not been matched with support by the federal government. Most critically, the federal government’s lack of intervention and coordination at the border has created an unstable situation for Illinois.
On top of the 15,000 that have arrived in Chicago and Illinois over the last 13 months, we are now seeing busloads more migrants at increasingly higher rates being sent specifically to Chicago each day. Our state government has been forced to dedicate over $ 330 million to provide humanitarian aid and that amount is increasing each day. That’s a massive amount of money for a state still overcoming the health and economic effects of COVID-19. Add to that the over $ 100 million the city of Chicago contributed. Though we have found temporary housing in existing buildings for a majority of the refugees, we are challenged to find additional housing for the continuous flow of people who keep coming and are now forced to sleep in police stations and on sidewalks. This situation is untenable and requires your immediate help beyond the coming work authorizations for some of the asylum seekers.
There is much more that can and must be done on a federal level to address a national humanitarian crisis that is currently being shouldered by state and local governments without support.
A falling out with Pritzker could be particularly bad for Biden’s reelection campaign, writes The Washington Examiner. Pritzker has been both a surrogate for the president and a member of the campaign’s national advisory board.
The White House, of course, did not accept blame from Pritzker and instead tried to cast the problem of illegal immigration onto Republicans. A Biden spokesman pointed to a $1 billion the administration has given communities to address the influx of migrants coming from the southern border.
He continued, “House Republicans continue to block the reform the immigration system needs and the $4 billion we requested to address the immediate needs of [the Department of Homeland Security] to safely and humanely manage the Southwest Border and support communities across the country.”
Pritzker is not the first Democrat to call out the White House for their failure to secure the southern border, nor the latest Big City liberal to turn against illegal immigration.
Over the summer, Eric Adams, the Mayor of New York City, claimed that the Big Apple was “full” when it came to migrants.
“It’s a real embarrassment on a national level,” he told a local news station. “The president has an obligation to deal with the immediate concerns… We’ve done our job. There’s no more room in the inn.”