Pritzker responds to Republicans calling for end of migrant sanctuary status

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Data compiled by the National Immigration Forum shows in fiscal year 2016, only 28% of those seeking asylum were granted that legal status.  | Photo courtesy of Center Square

Illinois Statehouse Republicans wanting to end the state’s migrant sanctuary policies are getting rebuffed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. 

Republicans held two separate news conferences this week to discuss the ongoing migrant crisis where Illinois has received about 35,000 non-citizen arrivals since August 2022. 

Republicans are calling for more transparency on how taxpayer dollars are being spent and for an end to the state’s TRUST Act, which some say is what makes Illinois a migrant sanctuary state. That law says state and local law enforcement cannot assist federal immigration officers in enforcing immigration law, if that is the sole issue against someone. 

At an unrelated event outside of Springfield Thursday, Pritzker dismissed the notion of ending the state’s sanctuary status. 

“The discussion about being a welcoming state or a sanctuary state, all of that discussion has always been about what are we going to do about the undocumented people that have been here for decades,” Pritzker said. 

Earlier in the week, state Sen. Andrew Chesney said the TRUST Act policies need to end, even with consideration to those seeking asylum hearings.  

“We need to anticipate that we are going to communicate with federal authorities when 80% of those applications are anticipated to be rejected,” Chesney said. 

Pritzker said there’s a difference between illegal and undocumented migrants and those who are documented asylum seekers. 

“So on the question about the challenges that are brought up in a press conference like that have zero to do with the current migration crisis that’s occurring,” Pritzker said. 

Earlier this week, state Rep. Dan Caulkins said those seeking asylum in the United States may not even qualify for it. 

“I think it’s close to 90% of everyone that goes to court is sent back to their country of origin because they are not legitimate asylum seekers,” Caulkins said. 

Data compiled by the National Immigration Forum shows in fiscal year 2016, only 28% of those seeking asylum were granted that legal status. 

“Approval rates varied by immigration court from about 10 percent to 80 percent,” the report said.

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