CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday fired off a letter to President Joe Biden about an “untenable” migrant crisis in the state, calling for an overhaul to the system and blasting the White House for a “lack of intervention and coordination at the border.”
Pritzker, a Democrat, said the state’s resources were beyond strained after Texas officials bused more than 15,000 migrants to Illinois in the past year.
“Unfortunately, the welcome and aid Illinois has been providing to these asylum seekers has not been matched with support by the federal government,” Pritzker wrote. “Most critically, the federal government’s lack of intervention and coordination at the border has created an untenable situation for Illinois.”
A migrant from Venezuela feeds his 15-month-old son in the lobby of a police station in Chicago on May 9.Scott Olson / Getty Images file
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Fueling the letter is what Pritzker described as a “humanitarian crisis” that strains adequate housing for people who are taking refuge in police stations and even on sidewalks, as well as medical help and other social services, he wrote.
Pritzker recommended that the White House designate one person to work closely with the Oval Office to be the point person on the migrant issue, saying there is too much red tape for states to work with on the federal level.
But Pritzker went further, asking that the federal government intervene by helping manage where migrants end up.
“Allowing just one state to lay the burden upon a certain few states run by Democrats is untenable,” Pritzker wrote. “We are a nation that has welcomed immigrants and refugees since our founding, and we have done so in a bipartisan manner. It cannot be that just a few cities and states should now bear the cost of this effort alone.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams has sounded the alarm about the same issue in his system, saying migrants were overwhelming city resources. Last month, Adams escalated his remarks about the situation in his city, where 110,000 migrants have arrived in the last year, saying the crisis “will destroy New York City.”
Following pressure from Adams and others, Biden recently granted temporary legal status to Venezuelans who have lived in the U.S. since July. That meant that hundreds of thousands of migrants were granted the right to obtain work and live in the U.S. without fear of deportation.
Natasha Korecki is a senior national political reporter for NBC News.