Democratic governors seek more migrant funding, border security

(The Center Square) — A group of Democratic governors are calling on the Biden administration and Congress to address the immigration crisis by increasing federal funding for states and passing a border security package.

In a letter to President Joe Biden and congressional leaders, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and eight other Democratic chief executives call for lawmakers to “quickly” reach an agreement on a border security package “that includes federal coordination and decompression at the southern and northern borders and federal funding for both border and interior states and cities receiving new arrivals.”

“While the Biden Administration has made important progress in managing immigration at the Southwest border, the number of migrants arriving in states and cities seeking emergency shelter continues to increase at record pace,” they wrote. “States and cities have spent billions to address inaction by Congress and match these challenges with solutions for our state and local economies.”

The governors said the nation’s immigration system is “outdated and unprepared” to respond to “unprecedented global migration” and that the problems facing states will continue to fester unless the system is reformed. They called for action on a legislative package of reforms.

They pointed to President Job Biden’s $106 billion supplemental funding request to address immediate national security concerns, which includes $4.4 billion in “desperately needed” funding for a federal migration strategy and $1.4 billion in aid to states and localities.

“Those funds would provide support to federal agencies for additional personnel to increase border security, add staff to accelerate processing times and eligibility determinations, and increase removal proceedings for those ineligible to stay in the United States,” they wrote.

“While political motivations continue to delay the negotiations, our economy, states and localities are bearing the brunt of the shortcomings of the existing immigration system,” they added.

Besides Hochul, the letter was also signed by Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

The nine governors represent more than 100 million Americans, they pointed out in the letter, who are looking to Washington, D.C., to come up with a “federal solution that supports our economy, immigrants and fixes our immigration system.”

More than 10 million people illegally entered the U.S. from January 2021 to September 2023, according to the latest Homeland Security figures.

In Congress, House Republicans have filed articles of impeachment for Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, alleging he is derelict in duty, violating laws established by Congress, and creating a national security threat.

GOP lawmakers say the number of people illegally entering the country surged after Biden and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas halted many preexisting border security policies and advanced sweeping parole and other policies to release the greatest number of illegal foreign nationals into the country.

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