Blagojevich calls out Biden, Pritzker for creating migrant crisis: 'Whose side are you on?'

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich joined a growing group of Democrats criticizing President Joe Biden's border policies as the migrant crisis continues to burden major U.S. cities, including Chicago.

"It's a humanitarian crisis, it's a national security crisis caused by President Biden's open borders policies, caused by the rhetoric of Democratic governors like our Governor Pritzker – who used to work for me, by the way, when I was a Democratic governor – where they talk about sanctuary cities," Blagojevich told "America's Newsroom" Thursday.

"Our governor and our mayor are crying for help and changing their tune."

Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker sent a letter to the president on Monday with a list of demands outlining how the federal government's response to the border crisis is inadequate. Pritzker blamed Biden for creating an "untenable situation" in his state, complaining that more than 15,000 migrants have been shipped "like cargo" to Illinois from border states "in a dehumanizing attempt to score political points."

Former Illinois governor and convicted felon Rod Blagojevich speaks to the press outside of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse on August 02, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Scott Olson/Getty Images / Getty Images)

While Illinois Democrats welcome migrants — Chicago is a sanctuary city — Pritzker wrote that the number of migrant arrivals is "overwhelming our ability to provide aid to the refugee population."

"Unfortunately, the welcome and aid Illinois has been providing to these asylum seekers has not been matched with support by the federal government. Most critically, the government's lack of intervention and coordination at the border has created an untenable situation for Illinois," the letter states.

Blagojevich warned the influx of migrants to the Windy City has taken up critical financial resources needed to address crime and education.

"$300 to $400 million has been spent already in Chicago and in Illinois. That's money that could have been used for more police officers in a city that's facing violent crime. That's money that could be put into schools, so the classrooms can be smaller and kids can learn better," he said.

Tensions flared Tuesday as fed up Chicago residents gathered to voice outrage over the arrival of more migrants.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks before signing a bill restricting the sale and possession of unserialized firearms, also known as ghost guns, on May 18, 2022, at The Ark of St. Sabina. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

"We come in a community of Black people where we already get the low scraps, and then you want to take the little scraps, the resources that we have, and put us at the bottom of the barrel? That's not fair," one resident said.

"Turn the buses around!," another resident shouted.

Pritzker's letter comes after New York Democrats including Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams have called on the Biden administration to increase federal assistance on the migrant crisis amid a historic wave of illegal immigration.

A group of migrants exits a bus near a Greyhound station after being transported from Texas Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Chicago. Over 15,000 migrants have been transported to Chicago since last year. Around 14 buses after arrived in the city in las (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Blagojevich said the crisis has pitted Democrat constituencies against each other and created a "very real possibility" of a split in the Democratic coalition.

"Democrat leaders have created a crisis in cities like Chicago and New York because they didn't expect that their rhetoric was going to actually be acted on. They just figured, let the governors of Texas and Arizona and New Mexico deal with this problem. Now that it's at their doorstep they've changed their position."

"It's question again of priorities," he said. "Whose side are you on?"