HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) – In Illinois, U.S. Senate Majority Whip and Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee Dick Durbin (D) and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth led members of the Illinois Democratic Congressional Delegation in sending a letter to the White House, urging the Biden Administration to provide Illinois and the City of Chicago with the necessary resources to receive asylum seekers in a safe and orderly fashion.
In the letter, the lawmakers are asking for a government-wide provision of resources, streamlining work authorization for more people, technical assistance for work permit applications, improved coordination and data sharing and improvements to the Shelter and Services Program (SSP).
The lawmakers also wrote, “As members of the Illinois congressional delegation, we urge you to take immediate action to address serious humanitarian needs in Illinois. The State of Illinois and the City of Chicago have dedicated unprecedented resources to the more than 18,000 asylum seekers who have traveled to Chicago from the U.S.-Mexico border since the start of Governor Abbott’s partisan stunt, ‘Operation Lone Star,’ in August 2022. State and local officials have worked tirelessly to serve these new arrivals, and the federal government must swiftly provide assistance and resources that reflect this Administration’s commitment to safe, orderly, and humane immigration processes.”
The Members are calling on the Biden Administration to assign a dedicated federal liaison for Illinois. This liaison would coordinate federal agencies assisting state and local officials, and serve as a single point of contact for all officials involved. Due to the variety of professions in need of workers, they also urged President Biden to consider more streamlining measures to make it easier to access work permits.
In the letter, the Members also urged the Biden Administration to send officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to Chicago to help non-governmental organizations with navigating new processes and ensuring that asylum seekers receive the latest information. Finally, they urged the Administration to set aside additional SSP funds to Illinois and Chicago and consider more flexibility to allow the state to use those funds for all initial services provided to asylum seekers.
You can read the full text of the letter here.