Illinois legislator visits southern U.S. border amid migrant crisis


(The Center Square) – An Illinois state lawmaker is calling on the Biden administration to close the U.S. southern border after his trip to Texas.

Illinois has seen nearly 30,000 migrants arrive since August 2022, which has left many communities in need of help and several others refusing to take part in sheltering those arrivals. City and state taxpayer funds to deal with the crisis have totaled nearly $700 million in the past year.

State Rep. Brad Halbrook, R-Shelbyville, visited the border last week to see firsthand and explained what he saw.

“It was an eye-opening experience, to say the least,” Halbrook said. “I would advise everybody who is involved with policymaking to take a trip down there to see what the real story is because you get the truth when you are down there on the ground.”

Halbrook said the number of migrants crossing the border is staggering.

“This area is seeing thousands of migrants a day cross the river,” Halbrook said. “One of the other stops we went to was just east of town, which was a pecan farm town; this was a stunning stop to see how they are crossing the rivers.”

Halbrook even said many are dying in their attempt to cross the border into America.

“People are drowning in the river,” Halbrook said. “The farm we visited, 57 bodies were discovered in one week on this pecan farm in the last few months, and that’s just one week, that’s not all of them.”

Many of those who cross are then put onto buses and shipped to Democratic cities like Chicago, which is due in part to failed leadership, according to Halbrook. He said the border needs to be closed.

“The solutions are quite simple, but [Gov. J.B. Pritzker], the mayor of Chicago and the president of the United States continue to ignore what the solution to this problem is,” Halbrook said.

Halbrook and others have called for changes to the situation.

“People do not like this. When you start to siphon off resources from the citizens to the migrants, people do not like it,” state Sen. Andrew Chesney told The Center Square. “The best health care that J.B. Pritzker delivers to people in Illinois is to non-citizens and migrants. They all have better healthcare than virtually every citizen.”

Halbrook said it is time for the legislature to step in as Pritzker has issued his 18th disaster proclamation to deal with the crisis.

“That’s why this trip was important to bring attention to this very issue,” Halbrook said. “We have railed on the governor. We think he is missing his emergency powers. We think it ends after 30 days and the General Assembly needs to be called in to work through these issues.”

Greg Bishop contributed to this report.

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