Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot voiced her frustration on Sept. 4 that Texas has begun busing illegal immigrants to her city.
Fifty immigrants, mostly part of families, arrived by bus in Chicago on Sept. 4 from Texas. More than 95 immigrants had arrived in the city on buses days earlier.
Lightfoot, a Democrat, said that officials are working with nonprofits to “provide a real welcome” to the immigrants but is frustrated by what she described as a lack of coordination. She claimed that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, is “manufacturing a human crisis.”
“My frustration comes from the actions of the governor of Texas,” she said at a briefing. “There could be a level of coordination and cooperation, but he chooses to do none of those things, and instead tries to send human beings—not cargo, not freight—but human beings across the country to an uncertain destination.
“We have yet to hear from anybody in an official capacity from Texas. That’s unacceptable.”
Texas officials began transporting illegal aliens to Washington in April, and have since expanded the operation to New York City and Chicago; the state says it isn’t forcing anyone onto the buses, but rather offering the ride to people who volunteer to be transported.
Abbott has said that the operation is aimed at applying pressure on the federal government, which has loosened or completely reversed key Trump-era immigration policies.
Sanctuary PoliciesChicago, New York City, and Washington all have so-called sanctuary policies or statutes that forbid or limit cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities with regard to illegal immigrants.
“I have been very unequivocal in my time as mayor to make sure that we’re doing everything that we can to provide a safe, welcoming space here in Chicago,” Lightfoot said. “This is a time for us to live our values. And that’s precisely what we’re doing.”
More than 9,500 immigrants have been bused to the cities since April, according to Abbott’s office, which has declined to give many details on the operation, such as how much it has cost to date. The immigrants are released by federal authorities after being processed. At least some have applied for asylum. The immigrants have overwhelmed Washington and New York, prompting officials to ask for federal help and implement emergency procedures.
Chicago is also asking President Joe Biden’s administration for assistance, Lightfoot said.
“We’re asking for any assistance that we can get from the federal government,” she said. “The state has stepped in; the county has been an awesome partner. So we’re asking all people goodwill to step up and help support us.”