(The Center Square) – Illinois’ senior U.S. senator acknowledges there’s a problem at the southern U.S. border and says there are no negotiations to slow the flow with the three main countries that migrants are fleeing.

About 125 Illinois National Guard soldiers from an East St. Louis transportation company are preparing to head to the Southwest, a guard spokesman said. The Illinois National Guard has been in rotation with other states as part of the year’s old federal mission dating back to former President George W. Bush.

Illinois Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin acknowledged there is a problem with border security, in particular with foreign nationals from three countries not controlling their migrant flow.

“Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua,” Durbin said Wednesday in Springfield. “We don’t have a solid relationship with the governments of those countries and so there is no negotiation to try and slow down the flow.”

While Illinois National Guard troops continue their support of the federal Southwest Border Security mission, they also continue assisting a separate state mission to receive migrants in Chicago.

Durbin said those here legally seeking asylum have been vetted.

“I wanna make it clear, I’m not saying skirt around the rules,” Durbin said. “We got to basically have protections to make sure that we never knowingly allow a dangerous person to come into this country.”

About 2,000 migrants have been moved from Texas to Chicago. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has also bused thousands of migrants to New York City and Washington D.C. He’s said the self-proclaimed “sanctuary cities” are getting a fraction of the migrants Texas is getting. The issue has highlighted President Joe Biden’s handling of border security.

Durbin criticized Texas, Florida and Arizona for busing migrants elsewhere.

“We need to rewrite our immigration laws in America,” Durbin said. “They are broken. We need to have a system that makes sense. This system does not.”

Members of Congress have talked about immigration reform for decades. Durbin said politics gets in the way.

“We need an orderly process at the border,” Durbin said. “We need to make sure that we never knowingly allow a dangerous person to enter this country. We have to acknowledge the fact that we cannot accept everyone who wants to come into the United States at this time. We have to have a process that brings in the workforce that we need for the future of this country.”

Republicans blame the increase of migrant flows on the Biden administration’s reversal of some border control policies put in place by former President Donald Trump.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection data shows an increase of total southwest land border encounters jumped from around 458,000 in 2020 to 1.7 million in 2021, the first year of Biden's term. Year-to-date for 2022, there have been more than 2.1 million encounters reported. The vast majority are single adults.

Associate Editor

Greg Bishop reports on Illinois government and other issues for The Center Square. Bishop has years of award-winning broadcast experience and hosts the WMAY Morning Newsfeed out of Springfield.