immigration, USCIS
USCIS office in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo credit: Gulbenk / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

In a letter to Biden, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) called on the president to help address the “humanitarian crisis” caused by the high number of asylum seekers that are being shipped from red to blue states.

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President Joe Biden is used to being attacked over the situation at the southern border. Knowing that it is a winning issue for them, Republicans are doing it daily. More recently, however, he has also received some “friendly fire” from Democrats.

On Monday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) joined that chorus of critics from his own party.

In a letter to Biden, he called on the president to help address the “humanitarian crisis” caused by the high number of asylum seekers that are being shipped from red to blue states.

“The people of Illinois are kind and generous,” Pritzker wrote. “We believe in the fundamental right of every human, especially those facing persecutions, to find refuge and live with dignity in this great country of ours.”

However, he noted that states like his cannot accommodate such a large amount of people without federal assistance.

“[As] the numbers being transported to Chicago are accelerating, the humanitarian crisis is overwhelming our ability to provide aid to the refuge population,” Pritzker stated. “Unfortunately, the welcome and aid Illinois has been providing to these asylum seekers has not been matched with support by the federal government.”

While the governor is urging Biden to do more, he reserved his harshest criticism for the Republican governors of border states who are shipping asylum seekers to blue states to score political points.

“Governors and mayors from border states have shipped people to our state like cargo in a dehumanizing attempt to score political points,” he wrote, adding that these politicians are “seeking to increase the partisan divide.”

Pritzker offers several ways in which the federal government can help.

First of all, he suggests the establishment of an office in the White House that oversees and coordinates the various ways in which the crisis is addressed and serves as a point of contact for cities and states.

In addition, the governor wants Biden to waive the fees for applications for temporary protected status (TPS) for individuals who cannot afford them.

Pritzker also wants the federal government to coordinate where buses with migrants are headed instead of allowing red states’ governors to make these decisions.

Furthermore, he called on the president to provide more funding for state and local governments as well as the NGOs that provide temporary housing, food, and social services to asylum seekers.

An important step in the integration of these refugees is that they can find jobs as quickly as possible, which also means that they will then be able to better support themselves. Therefore, Pritzker also believes that the federal government has to do a better job of cutting the red tape and speeding up the employment authorizations for these individuals.

Finally, Pritzker also wants the Biden administration to approve his state’s requests for Medicaid waivers and housing vouchers.


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