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Migrant funding top of mind ahead of Pritzker’s budget address

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(The Center Square) – Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker will announce his proposed budget Wednesday, and some are seeking drastic changes on how the state handles migrants.

Illinois Senate Republicans say it’s possible there could be nearly a billion dollar deficit heading into the fiscal year that begins July 1. Senate Minority Leader John Curran, R-Downers Grove, said driving the deficit is the taxpayer cost of providing non-citizens with subsidized services.

“This governor has spent six years creating a non-citizen welfare state,” Curran said. “He is spending your taxpayer dollars, the taxpayer dollars of Illinois citizens, working families, to create that non-citizen welfare state. We have opposed that at every step and we will continue to.”

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s office Tuesday announced a portal to track taxpayer spending on the crisis. Since November, the tracker shows the state’s taxpayers have spent more than $31.1 million.

The governor’s office said last week taxpayers have covered $478 million since the start of the crisis in 2022. He announced the state will commit to $182 million for the issue in the coming budget.

“With thousands of asylum seekers continuing to come to Chicago in desperate need of support and with Congress continuing to refuse to act – it is clear the state, county, and city will have to do more to keep people safe,” Pritzker said in a statement last week.

The current budget that ends June 30 budgeted $550 million for non-citizen health care, but projections have pushed that number higher.

State Rep. Blaine Wilhour, R-Beecher City, raised alarm with the state’s migrant-friendly policies costing taxpayers. He said it’s an injustice to Illinois citizens.

“Our own people shoulder the injustice of billions of dollars spent on illegals while they suffer under oppressive taxation,” he said.

Republicans say the governor needs to end the state’s migrant-sanctuary policies.

State Rep. Dagmara Avelar, D-Bolingbrook, told the House that nobody talks about American policies impacting the economies of foreign nations.

“Where people who are small business owners are forced to flee, whether it was due to humanitarian crisis, due to political turmoil,” she said. “About all of these conversations about taxpayer dollars, let me tell you about something, there’s billions of dollars that undocumented workers pay into our tax system. There are billions of that undocumented homeowners put into our tax system.”

Pritzker delivers his address at noon Wednesday.

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