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Biden skips meeting with mayors requesting $5 billion from White House for migrant influx

By Jake Beardslee · November 3, 2023

In brief…

  • Mayors requested $5 billion from White House to support services for migrants
  • White House asked Congress for $1.4 billion in October for migrant crisis
  • Mayors argued in letter that much more funding is needed to handle influx
President Biden skipped a White House meeting with mayors seeking billions in federal funding to support services for migrants arriving in US cities.  Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America/Wikimedia

President Biden did not attend a White House meeting Thursday with big-city mayors seeking $5 billion to finance local services for migrants released at the US-Mexico border, according to The New York Post.

Instead, White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients and senior adviser Tom Perez met with Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and Denver Mayor Mike Johnston. New York City Mayor Eric Adams had also been scheduled to attend but canceled last minute.

“To address this crisis without further delay, we are requesting an urgent meeting with you to directly discuss ways we can work with your administration to avoid large numbers of additional asylum seekers being brought to our cities with little to no coordination, support, or resources,” the mayors wrote in an Oct. 28 letter to Biden requesting the meeting and funds.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre did not comment on the $5 billion request but said the administration wants additional migrant crisis funding from Congress, the Post reports.

It is unclear why Biden did not attend the meeting with mayors critical of his handling of migration. He also skipped an August meeting with New York Governor Kathy Hochul after she criticized the federal response.

In October, the White House asked Congress to approve $1.4 billion in funding to assist state and local governments in providing shelter and services for migrants who have been released from the custody of the Department of Homeland Security.

“Right now, Denver is spending almost $2 million a week on shelter, New York City has surpassed $1.7 billion in spending and Chicago has spent over $320 million,” the mayors wrote. “Our cities need additional resources that far exceed the amount proposed in order to properly care for the asylum seekers entering our communities.”