(The Hill) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) pressed President Biden on the “untenable” influx of asylum-seekers in the state, marking the latest state-level demand for more White House action on the issue.
In a letter dated Oct. 2, Pritzker said the accelerating arrival of asylum-seekers is “overwhelming” the state’s ability to provide aid to this population, arguing the aid provided by Illinois has not been matched by the federal government.
“Most critically, the federal government’s lack of intervention and coordination [on] the border has created an untenable situation for Illinois,” he said.
More than 15,000 migrants have arrived in Illinois in the 13 months since the first bus of asylum-seekers from the border reached the state, Pritzker claimed.
“Governors and mayors from border states have shipped people to our state like cargo in a dehumanizing attempt to score political points,” Pritzker wrote in an apparent reference to efforts by lawmakers such as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to protest border policies by sending migrants to so-called sanctuary cities often led by Democrats.
Maintaining that the people of Illinois “are kind and generous,” Pritzker argued much more can be done on a federal level to address what he called a national humanitarian crisis.
The Illinois Democrat recommended one person in the White House be assigned to lead the oversight of U.S. efforts at the border, claiming there are “too many federal department contacts” that are “uncoordinated with one another.”
Pritzker also recommended the federal government waive fees for applying for temporary protected status, a designation designed to make it easier for migrants to get employment authorization to work in the U.S.
The Biden administration has maintained a somewhat cautious approach to immigration and border security, fueling criticism from both sides of the aisle at times.
Leaders in New York and Massachusetts have called attention to the toll newly arrived migrants have taken on their states’ resources, particularly in New York, where the government is required to provide housing to those who need it.
Pritzker’s other requests included an increase in logistical coordination and data collection; greater financial support for housing, food and social services; an accelerated timeline for employment authorization and approval of Illinois’s requests for Medicaid waivers and housing vouchers.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.