Migrant buses: Abbott not targeting Philadelphia yet

Immigration

(NewsNation) — With speculation that Philadelphia could be the next city on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s list to send buses of migrants, Abbott’s press secretary confirmed Monday that Texas is only sending migrants to three cities at this time.

Abbott’s office also confirmed that no migrants have been sent to Philadelphia. Texas is sending migrants to New York City, Chicago and Washington D.C.

But Philadelphia has been preparing for the arrival of unexpected migrant buses since Abbott, a Republican currently running for re-election, started bussing migrants to other sanctuary cities with Democratic mayors.

“The city is inventorying existing resources should those seeking safe refuge find their way to Philadelphia,” a spokesperson for Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney, Kevin Lessard, told Axios.

The Kenney administration said the city isn’t aware of any buses headed its way, but the city isn’t expecting to receive any notice if Abbott decides to send migrants that way.

And Philadelphia fits the same characteristics as the cities currently receiving migrants. To be prepared, the city is planning for any possible arrivals in the future.

Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has caught some criticism for sending migrants from her city to another town outside Chicago unannounced.

Lightfoot said her staff would work hard to find shelter and services for any migrants arriving in the city, but the Democratic mayor is being accused of implementing a diversion and sending migrants to the Chicago suburb Burr Ridge without informing the town’s Republican mayor.

“I’m still upset that I still don’t know who’s making the decisions here,” Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso said.

Of the close to 150 migrants who recently arrived in Chicago from Texas, almost half of them were sent to Burr Ridge where they will stay for the next month in a hotel.

Abbott has been busing thousands of migrants to New York City and Washington, D.C. since April. The nation’s capital even issued a state of emergency in order to help handle the influx of migrants.

Chicago started receiving buses in late August, and Abbott said he will keep sending buses until President Joe Biden secures the southern border.

In response, Lightfoot called Abbott racist and shameless.

“Governor Abbott’s racist and xenophobic practices of expulsion have only amplified the challenges many of these migrants have experienced on their journey to find a safe place,” the Chicago mayor said.

But the city of Chicago said it was the state’s decision to move the migrants to Burr Ridge, not Lightfoot.

However, the suburb claims no one from either the mayor’s office or Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office called Burr Ridge to give the administration notice of the movement of migrants. This move influenced Grasso to believe the move could be a form of political payback by Lightfoot and Pritzker intentionally not communicating with him, the same way Abbott doesn’t communicate with them.

“In a smaller way, I’m in the same position she was put in,” Grasso said.

Burr Ridge did receive refugees from Afghanistan earlier this year, so the state maintains the town has experience handling migrants and refugees and that’s why a group was sent there.

Despite the confusion, Grasso said the migrants will be supported as they look for housing and work.

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