Chicago Mayor Calls on Biden Admin for ‘Significant Investment’ in City Amid Immigration Crisis

Chicago Mayor Calls on Biden Admin for 'Significant Investment' in City Amid Immigration Crisis

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This is not sustainable, he said.

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson has urged the Biden administration to take further steps to address the ongoing immigration crisis affecting the sanctuary city, arguing that the current influx is unsustainable without “significant federal support.”

The progressive Democrat appeared on CNN on Dec. 27 where he touted his office’s work in responding to what he called a “humanitarian mission.”

His administration, he said, has faced a “remarkable challenge” in welcoming thousands of unvetted immigrants, with the city currently housing 15,000 in 27 temporary shelters and a total of 4,500 children in the Chicago public schools system.

The city is also providing immigrants with healthcare, he added.

“But let me just say this to make this very clear, what I have said repeatedly is that we have to have coordination,” Mr. Johnson said. “Since taking office, we’ve had an uncoordinated approach. And what I’ve worked to do, instead of having chaos, is provide some structure and calm around the situation. And without significant federal support, this is not sustainable.”

Mr. Johnson warned that without “real significant investment from our federal government,” it would not only be Chicago that is unable to manage the influx of immigrants but “the entire country.”

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More than 26,000 unvetted immigrants have arrived in Chicago since August 2022, according to the governor’s office.

‘Coordinated Approach’ Needed

While the city models itself as a so-called “sanctuary state” for unvetted immigrants, Mr. Johnson still criticized Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s “reckless” and “dangerous” decision to send busloads of what Texas calls illegal immigrants to cities and states like Chicago, as part of efforts to highlight the impact of the illegal immigration crisis on border towns.

“In no way what the state of Texas is doing is helping the cause,” he said. “As much as we recognize that there are challenges, significant challenges at the border, and we do need real substantive immigration reform and policies that allow us to have a structure and a pathway to citizenship … sending buses all over the state of Illinois and all over the country is reckless and, quite frankly, dangerous.”

Mr. Johnson said he met with 80 mayors last week to organize a “more coordinated approach” to the crisis for the state of Illinois along with county officials.

“That is what is required in this moment: a real sophisticated coordination while also pushing the federal government to provide the resources and support so we can actually sustain this mission,” the mayor added.

Texas Vows to Expand Busing Operations

Mr. Johnson’s comments come after Chicago earlier this month reportedly began impounding buses sent by Texas to drop off illegal immigrants in the city and began imposing fines on buses that do so without a permit.

In response, Texas began transporting immigrants into the sanctuary city via planes.

Andrew Mahaleris, Mr. Abbott’s spokesman, said the flights were in response to Mr. Johnson “failing to live up to his city’s ‘Welcoming City’ ordinance by targeting migrant buses from Texas.”

“Nearly every single day, Chicago’s mayor attacks Governor Abbott for busing migrants to his sanctuary city,” Mr. Mahaleris said in a post on X. “He needs to check his campaign website, where he promises to welcome them with open arms.”

Elsewhere, Gov. Abbott said that Texas will continue to expand its operations to include flights to Chicago until the Biden administration “steps up to secure the border” and provides much-needed relief to long-overwhelmed Texas border towns.

The Republican governor also noted that Democrats in Chicago are now “waking up to the reality that open border policies are failed policies.”

Caden Pearson contributed to this report.

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