‘We Can’t Compromise’: Blue City Leaders Criticize White House For Burying Border Funding In Ukraine, Israel Package

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Reagan Reese White House Correspondent
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While the White House continues to tout its latest aid package that would allocate funds to Israel, Ukraine and the border crisis, Democratic leaders in cities that have become overrun with migrants are not impressed by the attempt to tie domestic issues to problems overseas.

President Joe Biden requested Friday that Congress approve a nearly $106 billion aid package that would give more than $61 billion to Ukraine, $14.3 billion to Israel and $13.6 billion to the nation’s border crisis, with $1.4 billion of the funds going to state and local governments struggling to handle an influx of migrants. While it is unclear which cities the funds would go to, Democratic leaders in New York City and Chicago told the Daily Caller they found the White House’s move to bury border funding in a package focused on issues outside of the country to be “disheartening” and a “mistake.” (RELATED: KJP Claims Biden Has Done ‘More’ For The Border Than Anyone Else)

“I think that is where it is so disheartening to learn that it’s tucked into a package deal that has nothing to do with immigration or our border,” Democratic Chicago Alderman Raymond Lopez told the Daily Caller. “It focuses on the war on Israel and the war in Ukraine. We need to have a comprehensive thought-out discussion on how we’re going to secure our border and what we’re going to do for the 4 million people who have crossed into this country since October of last year.”

The White House is requesting about $1.4 billion to go towards “temporary food, shelter and other services for migrants released from Department of Homeland Security custody,” according to a fact sheet. Additional funds would go toward support for “eligible arrivals” and helping them resettle within the country and “become self-sufficient.”

About $1.9 billion would go to the Department of Health and Human Services to “support eligible arrivals and unaccompanied children.”

The border funding is buried in a package that focuses on funding Israel and Ukraine during their respective wars; as a part of the package, Israel would receive funds to strengthen its forces against Hamas’ attacks and replenish its missile defense system, according to a White House fact sheet. Funds to Ukraine would help provide additional weapons and equipment to the country during its war with Russia.

The Biden administration previously requested additional aid in August, about $4 billion, to address the border crisis, according to CNBC News.

“Our allies in Israel and Ukraine need our help, no question. But tying our border funding to that? That’s a mistake — our border needs attention on its own terms. We can’t compromise our own security by forcing Congress to agree on it in exchange for extending a hand abroad. They should be two separate matters,” Democratic New York City Council Member Robert Holden told the Daily Caller. 

Both Chicago and New York City have become overwhelmed by an influx of migrants the cities do not have the resources to handle. Democratic New York City Mayor Eric Adams warned in September the migrant crisis “will destroy the city” as it takes in an additional 10,000 people per month. The city was projected in August to spend $12 billion over the next three years to handle the surge.

In Chicago, more than 2,000 migrants are being housed in police stations and airports while the city holds meetings focused on whether buildings should be turned into shelters, according to Axios. Chicago Democratic Mayor Brandon Johnson and Chicago Public Schools, the fourth-largest school district in the country, opened a high school in July to be used as a welcome center for migrants in need of assistance and behavioral care.

Despite some previous help from the Biden administration, Holden and Lopez told the Daily Caller in September they felt ghosted by the president and his staff when trying to address the migrant crisis within their cities.

The Biden administration has previously provided aid to address the border crisis, appropriating $770 million through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the current fiscal year to help cities such as New York, Chicago, Boston and Denver, according to CBS News.

Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul met with several Biden officials, though not Biden himself, in August to discuss potential solutions to the migrant crisis within the state. The Biden administration pledged during the meeting to help New York State fill job vacancies with migrants who are wearing on the state’s social safety net.

“The problem is no amount of money toward Ukraine and Israel will help rebuild our state capacities to handle the migrant and homeless crisis,” Democratic New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim said in a statement to the Daily Caller. “Unlike the proxy wars of the past where the White House leveraged proxy wars to win elections, the American people now realize these military competitions have no impact in rebuilding local capacities to fix everyday problems.”

The White House’s latest aid package has also come under fire for a different reason. Some Republicans say Biden is using the Israel-Hamas war to get more funding for Ukraine. GOP Senators told the Daily Caller the White House’s aid package is an “insulting” exploitation of Israel.

“I think right now, unfortunately, my party would choose to ignore what’s happening at the border and deflect to what’s happening abroad. We can do both. We must do both. And we need to. We owe it to the American people to show that we can care about what’s going on domestically, while also ensuring that we’re spreading feet of freedom and peace throughout the world,” Lopez told the Daily Caller. “We used to be able to do that. We fought World Wars to prove that we can take care of our own while taking care of the world, but not anymore.”

The White House did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.