WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today urged the bipartisan leadership of the Senate Appropriations Committee to provide significant additional federal support to interior cities, including the City of Chicago, to help these cities more effectively address the ongoing migrant crisis. In today’s letter, the Senators expressed strong support for fulfilling the urgent request of interior cities to invest at least $5 billion in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Shelter and Services Program to ensure these communities are able to continue receiving, processing and caring for arriving families, particularly vulnerable children, in a safe and humane manner.

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“We write to express strong support for fulfilling the request of interior city Mayors, including the Honorable Brandon Johnson, Mayor of the City of Chicago, to appropriate $5 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Shelter and Services Program (SSP),” the Senators wrote. “Though this request is $3.6 billion above President Biden’s national security supplemental requested amount of $1.4 billion, the amounts are necessary to address the scope of the challenges that interior cities, such as Chicago, Boston, New York and Denver, are facing.”

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The Senators continued, “These cities are investing significant local resources to care for migrants in a safe and humane manner—despite the unacceptable lack of communication and coordination by politicians like Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who is seeking to cynically use vulnerable migrants, including families and children, as partisan pawns to demonize asylum seekers and sow chaos.”

Today’s joint letter follows the Senators’ previous call for 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 and their prior request that the Biden administration authorize state governments to issue work authorizations that will empower American businesses to address critical workforce needs, while enabling migrants to financially support themselves and their families through hard work they are ready and willing to do.

Full text of the joint letter is available on the Senator’s website.

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