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GOP lawmakers blast Pritzker’s budget request for more migrant funding

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(The Center Square) – Reaction was swift after Gov. J.B. Pritzker asked Illinoisans to pay more for the care of non-citizen migrants entering the state.

Included in his State of the State address Wednesday, Pritzker’s budget proposal calls for $182 million in funding to help deal with the migrant crisis. That is in addition to migrant health care costs that are increasing.

“I will not join the chorus of people in this country or in this chamber who eagerly look to slam shut an immigration door that was once open to our ancestors,” Pritzker said.

The governor blasted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for busing migrants to Illinois, but state Rep. Blaine Wilhour, R-Beecher City, said Pritzker himself is to blame.

“You can’t literally invite people to come here with this insane sanctuary state policy and then complain that we don’t have the resources when they arrive,” Wilhour said at a news conference after Pritzker’s address.

Pritzker said part of the funding will go toward moving asylum seekers from temporary shelters to permanent settlements in a timely manner, and also shelter conversion grants, returning facilities to public use after their usage as temporary shelters.

State Rep. Ryan Spain, R-Peoria, said there are better uses for the funding.

“Two-point-eight billion dollars of state of Illinois spending on undocumented immigrant health care or migrant assistance,” Spain said. “It is a gigantic sum of money now that is crowding out other spending priorities that I think are worthwhile.”

House Minority Leader Tony McCombie, R-Savanna, is calling on a statewide moratorium on accepting migrants, claiming the expense is too high for the state.

Since August 2022, Illinois has received more than 35,000 migrants from the southern U.S. border. Texas, with the longest southern border with Mexico, has seen millions.