The Chicago Journal

Growing Concerns in Chicago: Migrant Crisis Sparks Urgent Conversations with White House

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In the heart of Chicago, a pressing issue has emerged, one that has captured the attention of both local leaders and the White House. The ongoing migrant crisis in the Windy City has ignited tensions and led to a series of urgent conversations between Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, and top White House officials. In this article, we will delve into the intricate details of their concerns, demands, and the responses from the White House, shedding light on a situation that has implications far beyond the city limits.

Tensions Emerge on a Sunday Night

Picture this: a late Sunday evening, with Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson convening an impromptu conference call. Their aim was to confront top White House officials, urging them to take swift and decisive action to address a migrant crisis that they believe is teetering on the brink in Chicago. This crisis, they contend, is rapidly approaching a breaking point, and something must be done immediately. As we delve deeper, we’ll uncover the intricacies of their concerns and the gravity of the situation.

White House’s Response: “Best Practices”

Joining this high-stakes conference call were White House intergovernmental affairs director Tom Perez and White House chief of staff Jeff Zients. Their message to Chicago was clear: follow the “best practices” put in place in New York. New York had recently launched efforts to help migrants obtain work permits, aiming to provide support during these challenging times. However, despite this advice, the concerns voiced by Pritzker and Johnson persisted. They had observed the trials faced by New York City and state officials as they grappled with the arrival of thousands of migrants, and the situation in Chicago seemed poised to follow a similar trajectory.

Governor’s Letter to President Biden

In a move that underscored the urgency of the situation, Governor Pritzker took pen to paper and composed a letter addressed to President Joe Biden. In this letter, he demanded that the federal government take charge of a coordinated response at the border. This letter, a stark representation of the growing discontent among local officials across the nation regarding the mounting number of migrants at the US-Mexico border, outlines the pressing need for immediate action.

Chicago’s Unprecedented Influx

Chicago, a city known for its vibrant culture and iconic skyline, recently witnessed a record-breaking influx of migrants. Over 2,900 migrants found themselves living on the floors of police stations and Chicago’s airports, awaiting placement in shelters. This surge has prompted the White House to recognize the impending challenge that Chicago faces and the need for a comprehensive solution.

Local Resources Strain

Jason Lee, a senior adviser to Mayor Johnson, emphasized that while the federal government has provided some funding, it falls significantly short of the resources required to address the crisis adequately. Local governments, including Chicago, are grappling with the financial strain caused by the situation. The question of how to balance their budgets while providing essential support to migrants remains unanswered.

Border Crossings Surge

The increase in arrivals in US cities is closely tied to a surge in border crossings. Border Patrol apprehended over 200,000 migrants unlawfully crossing the US-Mexico border in September alone, marking the highest total this year. This statistic underscores the immense challenges facing the Biden administration amid mass migration in the region.

Unique Challenge with Venezuelan Migrants

Adding complexity to the situation is the presence of Venezuelan migrants. Diplomatic relations with Venezuela have made their deportation a formidable challenge. While Mexico has agreed to accept some of these migrants, it remains a complicated issue that requires a nuanced approach both at the federal and local levels.

Lack of Coordination

Another significant concern is the lack of coordination. Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott’s decision to bus migrants to destinations outside of Texas without prior coordination with receiving cities and states has further complicated an already intricate situation. This has led to fervent calls for the federal government to intervene and establish a clear, unified strategy.

Urgent Calls for Assistance

Governor Pritzker’s letter to the White House outlines several specific measures urgently needed to address the crisis. These include a substantial increase in logistical coordination, enhanced financial support for states and cities to provide essential services such as housing, and waivers of the state’s applications for federal support like Medicaid. The governor emphasizes that the federal government must take responsibility for the migrants once they are released into the country.


The growing migrant crisis in Chicago has transcended local borders, capturing the attention of both local leaders and the White House. Governor Pritzker and Mayor Johnson’s demands for federal intervention highlight the pressing need for a coordinated response to address the challenges faced by cities across the nation in dealing with the influx of migrants. This issue, with its far-reaching implications, underscores the need for swift and comprehensive action on a national level.