Chicago may not be the first city that comes to mind when you hear about the border crisis. But Windy City leaders are begging President Biden for help in dealing with an influx of migrants with nowhere to go. Here’s the full story.
Back in September, the Biden administration enacted a measure that made it easier for thousands of Venezuelan migrants to get work permits.
That was a boon for New York, which has been one of the hardest-hit areas in terms of the number of migrants showing up on their doorstep.
But that’s not enough to solve the problems that Chicago is now facing, says Mayor Brandon Johnson.
Johnson and Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker called the White House to demand and beg for any help they could get from the Biden administration.
According to the Windy City leaders, the influx of migrants is about to break their town and put lives in danger.
They point to Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s ongoing bussing program as the root of their budding problem.
Sending Them to the Windy City
According to Pritzker and Johnson, Abbott has ramped up the number of immigrants he’s sending toward Chicago in recent months.
Abbott has been bussing migrants coming into Texas from Mexico since April of 2022. It’s his response to what he calls Biden’s refusal to secure the border.
The Texas Governor began by sending the loaded buses to Washington, D.C., then added New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver, and Los Angeles to the mix.
All of those locations have declared themselves to be “sanctuary” cities, where migrants without immigration papers will be free from deportation or prosecution.
The program has come under fire from liberal politicians since the beginning, but Abbott has said Texas can’t deal with the influx of migrants.
They’ll Face Real Danger
Now, Chicago is feeling that same pain. And the migrants may soon be in real danger.
With a potentially deadly Chicago winter just ahead, Pritzker and Johnson say that about 17,000 people have been bussed north from Texas to their city so far.
And, as of their call with the White House, nearly 3000 were camped out on the floors of police stations and airports in the Windy City because they had nowhere else to go.
The overflow is reaching dire proportions, says Pritzker, who predicts that Chicago won’t be able to process and support the continued flow of migrants for more than a week or so.
For their part, White House staffers point to successes that Biden has had on the immigration front.
$50 Million Sent to Help
The administration has turned away a quarter million immigrants since May, they say, which outpaces what Donald Trump’s administration did during the summer of 2019.
And Border Patrol agents nabbed 200,000 people crossing illegally from Mexico into Texas during September alone.
A White House aide also pointed to about $50 million in grants that had been sent to Illinois to help care for the migrants.
But Pritzker and Johnson say it’s not enough, and they aren’t buying the White House insistence that New York is thriving in its approach to the bused migrants.
“Close the Borders”
He can point to New York City Mayor Eric Adams to bolster that point. Despite the additional work permits for Venezuelans, Adams has called on Biden to “close the borders.”
As it stands, Pritzker and Johnson are making a public plea for the federal government to “stop abdicating responsibility.”
In a letter to Biden, Pritzker wrote that cities like Chicago are bearing the brunt of fulfilling the country’s promise to take in and care for immigrants.
Now, he says, it’s time for the nation’s top shot-callers to step up.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Tyger Ligon