Watch CBS News

Mayor Johnson reemphasizes point on need to help asylum seekers

Mayor Brandon Johnson stresses importance of helping asylum seekers
Mayor Brandon Johnson stresses importance of helping asylum seekers 00:48

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Mayor Brandon Johnson spoke out Tuesday about the ongoing migrant crisis.

During a news conference, Mayor Johnson said he has been in touch with the White House and state officials for nearly 20 weeks – asking for aid and help with coordination.

The mayor doubled down on the importance of helping asylum seekers.

"You know, this is a global crisis. The policies that are impacting population-ships across the globe is affecting us all," the mayor said. "These are asylum seekers. These are not illegal people. The moment they step ground on American soil, they are officially protected by international law."

Johnson said it is important for local and federal governments to coordinate and streamline their efforts – including state leaders from Texas.

Meanwhile, Gov. JB Pritzker called on President Joe Biden Tuesday to provide more federal funding to help the thousands of asylum seekers who have been brought to Chicago and to take over the busing of newly arrived migrants from the border to other parts of the country.

"Governors and mayors from border states have shipped people to our state like cargo in a dehumanizing attempt to score political points. The people of Illinois are kind and generous. We believe in the fundamental right of every human, especially those facing persecution, to find refuge and live with dignity in this great country of ours," Pritzker wrote. "But as the numbers being transported to Chicago are accelerating, the humanitarian crisis is overwhelming our ability to provide aid to the refugee population."

Speaking to CBS 2 Streaming Anchor Brad Edwards Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Illinois) emphasized the need for a multi-pronged approach from the federal government in dealing with the migrant crisis.

"Let's just look at the broad picture – why are migrant coming? So what we haven't talked about – it's a much longer discussion – is why they're leaving in the first place," Quigley said. "What diplomatic means can we use to end the crisis in countries like Venezuela, so that they're not leaving in numbers that they are? Number two, we secure our borders. Number three, we pass comprehensive immigration reform."

Quigley also emphasized the need to allow migrants to work.

 We've got the work permit approval for Venezuelans from President Biden, and we need movement as quickly as possible. Every migrant I've ever met wants to work – wants to, you know, put food on the table for their families. They don't want to live in these facilities," he said, "and then I think finally, sure, the federal government needs to provide additional assistance. It can't be on cities like Chicago and New York."

As of Tuesday morning, more than 17,000 asylum seekers have arrived in Chicago since last August, mainly from Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott continues to protest the Biden administration's immigration policy by sending migrants to self-proclaimed sanctuary cities.

The rate of arrivals has significantly ramped up since May. A total of 328 buses carrying migrants have arrived since Aug. 31, 2022, with 220 arriving since May 12 – including more than 40 in the past week alone.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.