The White House increasingly faces pushback over its attempts to address the flow of migrants across the southern border from a somewhat unexpected source: Democratic allies, The Hill reports.
Even Biden campaign surrogate Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker wrote to the administration this week expressing concerns about how migrants arriving in his state from Texas are straining resources. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson spoke with White House officials on Sunday about it.
Republican lawmakers have relentlessly criticized the White House for the surge of migrants at the border, but the fact that more and more Democrats are pressing the issue — including those actively trying to get President Biden reelected — underscores how much of a problem it may be for the White House.
“Biden has to do what he can to secure the border and make the case he cares as much about border security as fairness for undocumented immigrants. Immigration remains a tender spot for Democrats, and Republicans know it,” said Jim Kessler of the centrist think tank Third Way.
After his call with senior White House aides, Pritzker wrote to Biden outlining specific requests the state had as it seeks to accommodate thousands of migrants who were sent there from border states.
Pritzker asked for a single federal official to oversee the situation at the border, the waiving of fees for Temporary Protective Status (TPS) applicants and the allocation of additional federal funds to states such as his that are welcoming thousands of asylum-seekers.
When asked about Pritzer’s outreach, Biden press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre pointed to the $4 billion in funding for the border in the president’s budget that has been blocked by Republicans. The White House has often argued that Biden has taken action by surging resources at the border and working with other countries to try to deal with the issue.
The White House argues that it is up to Congress to pass meaningful immigration reform and noted that Biden presented a sweeping immigration proposal right after taking office in 2021.