(The Center Square) – Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says he is encouraged that the federal government is continuing the deportation of illegal immigrants in the country who are not seeking asylum.
Last week, Pritzker sent President Joe Biden a letter saying the influx of non-citizens to Chicago is untenable. That joined a chorus of concerns from Democrats across the country about the ongoing border crisis. After an unrelated event in Chicago Tuesday, Pritzker took questions about whether progress has been made since.
“Shortly after our letter went to the White House, a determination was made to expand the return of refugees who do not qualify for refugee status,” Pritzker said. “If they don’t meet the requirements for someone who can stay, we’re making sure, the federal government anyway, is making sure that those folks are returned.”
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday deportations of Venezuelans who cross the southern U.S. border illegally.
State Sen. Steve McClure, R-Springfield, said Democrats own the ongoing crisis.
“It’s time to create new policies that protect the people of our state and our country,” McClure told WMAY. “The governor has not been willing to do that. Instead he wants to blame everybody else for policies that he has created that are encouraging people to come and stay in this state.”
Illinois has budgeted $550 million in state taxpayer dollars to subsidize the health care of migrants 64 and older. Illinois law also prohibits local law enforcement from engaging in federal civil immigration enforcement.
“For example, a local law enforcement agency in Illinois cannot: give an immigration agent access to individuals in its custody; detain individuals pursuant to a federal administrative warrant; detain individuals pursuant to an immigration detainer request from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); or share information about individuals in its custody with federal immigration authorities,” the Illinois Attorney General’s Office said in guidance for law enforcement on immigration issues.
McClure said the state needs to reverse its sanctuary state policies.
“The governor had no problem with these busloads coming as long as they were in other states. Now all of a sudden that they are in our state, he admits, ‘oh, well maybe I was wrong about these things, maybe they are unsustainable,’ but here we are and we’ve got to change policies or we’re going to be in even worse shape,” McClure said.
Tuesday, Pritzker also said discussions continue with the federal government about coordination of where buses go if not to Chicago. He encouraged migrants to seek other areas of the country as the cold Chicago winter is coming.
The governor said he “has not heard” if there will be a supplemental spending bill to deal with migrants when state legislators return for veto session later this month. McClure said the state doesn’t have extra money for the issue. Last week, the governor estimated state and Chicago taxpayers have paid more than $500 million to address the growing migrant issue.