A small city in Wisconsin is appealing to the White House for help with the influx of approximately 1,000 migrants who have come in since 2022, with issues ranging from housing to crime affecting the small community.
City leaders of Whitewater, Wisconsin, have prepared a letter to President Biden, saying they have seen a “rapid increase in the population of immigrants arriving from Nicaragua and Venezuela.”
“Each individual has a different reason for coming here; some are fleeing from a corrupt government, others are simply looking for a better opportunity to prosper. Regardless of the individual situations, these people need resources like anyone else, and their arrival has put great strain on our existing resources,” the letter, led by Police Chief Dan Meyer, states, according to Wisconsin Radio Network.
They note that some of the migrants are in the country illegally, while others are not.
“As a municipal government, our focus is not on legal status, but rather ensuring we are providing the resources expected of a municipality to all residents of the City. Unfortunately, we are increasingly finding it difficult to do that,” the letter adds.
The leaders said police have been facing obstacles with communication, transportation, housing and identification. They said there have been three times the number of unlicensed drivers on the road, while some migrants have been living in “terrible” conditions.
The letter also noted a “significant trust barrier” between migrants and staff, leading to some providing false documents and misleading staff.
“Finally, our law enforcement staff have responded to a number of serious crimes linked to immigrants in some manner, including the death of an infant child, multiple sexual assaults and a kidnapping.”
The leaders said despite that, “we see great value in the increasing diversity that this group brings to our community,” but they need additional resources to do so.
Specifically, the leaders expressed a need for more staffing, particularly in the police department, and money to fund programs aimed at “improving the quality of life of our immigrants,” including ride-share programs, affordable housing and language courses.
“If direct funding is not feasible, then I ask you to consider creating a grant opportunity that the City would be eligible to apply for,” the letter says. Wisconsin Public Radio reports the letter is picking up signatures from Whitewater’s Common Council members and then will be sent to Biden and other national representatives.
The letter is the latest indication of how the migrant crisis has affected communities across the country. Cities like New York City and Chicago have also called for federal help with migrants.
The White House’s supplemental budget request includes $14 billion for border funding, including over $1.5 billion for aid to communities receiving migrants.
That request is held up as Republicans demand greater limits on asylum and the use of parole by the administration to release migrants into the interior.
There were more than 302,000 migrant encounters in December, a number that breaks the record for the all-time monthly high.