Texas governor buses migrants to Chicago for Mayor Lightfoot who says she’ll take anyone regardless of legal status

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, at Loretto Hospital in Chicago. She defended her decision to grant interviews on her two-year anniversary in office only to journalists of color. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

John Wayne Ferguson

Houston Chronicle

Sep. 1—A group of migrants from Texas on Wednesday was dropped off at Union Station in downtown Chicago via a bus sent there by Gov. Greg Abbott.

Abbott announced Wednesday he had added Chicago to the group of cities receiving asylum seekers who had crossed the U.S.- Mexico border. He didn’t say how many people were on the bus.

Chicago is the third city that Abbott has bused migrants to, in what he calls a response to President Joe Biden’s policies at the border. He has also sent buses to New York and Washington D.C.

In a release announcing the group sent to Chicago, Abbott also invoked Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

“To continue providing much-needed relief to our small, overrun border towns, Chicago will join fellow sanctuary cities Washington, D.C. and New York City as an additional drop-off location.,” Abbott said. “Mayor Lightfoot loves to tout the responsibility of her city to welcome all regardless of legal status, and I look forward to seeing this responsibility in action as these migrants receive resources from a sanctuary city with the capacity to serve them.”

He vowed to continue sending more buses to Illinois.

There were about 60 migrants on the bus sent to Chicago, Lightfoot’s office said on Wednesday night.

“Chicago is a welcoming city and as such has collaborated across various departments and agencies to ensure we greeted them with dignity and respect,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “We understand that many are fleeing violent, traumatic, or otherwise unstable environments. We will respond with essential services while these individuals navigate the next steps of their journey and our community partners have been working diligently to provide a safety net.”

Lightfoot said Abbott “is without any shame or humanity,” and said the city had been preparing for him to start sending people to Chicago.

Texas has spent $12 million on the busing program since it began in April, according to CNN.

The people on the buses are asylum seekers, who are in the U.S. legally until their applications are reviewed. Experts in August said migrants sent to New York are more likely to have their asylum pleas granted than if they stayed in Texas.


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