CHICAGO (NewsNation) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott bused migrants to Chicago Wednesday, adding the city to the list of drop-off “sanctuary cities,” part of his continued response to President Joe Biden’s immigration policy.
The governor’s office told NewsNation that two buses arrived in Chicago Wednesday night and carried about 95 migrants.
Abbott believes Biden isn’t doing enough to secure the border, letting overwhelmed Texas border communities handle the crisis on their own. He has been busing migrants to Washington, D.C., and New York City since the spring.
“President Biden’s inaction at our southern border continues putting the lives of Texans — and Americans — at risk and is overwhelming our communities,” Abbott said in a statement Wednesday. “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. 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.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office responded to the arrival of buses in a statement, saying that immigration in Chicago is not new and that the city “welcomes hundreds of migrants every year” and “provides much-needed assistance.”
The statement also hit back at Abbott and his alleged “racist practices of expulsion.”
“Unfortunately, Texas Governor Greg Abbott is without any shame or humanity… We know that racism, discrimination, and human cruelty have played a pivotal role in how immigrants are received within our borders, and we are still working to recover from the previous presidential administration, which encouraged this behavior.”
The mayor’s office said the city has been preparing for this moment and will focus on providing as much assistance as possible to help migrants navigate the next steps of their journey.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker also issued a statement, saying “Illinois welcomes refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants.” He also said that they are working with city officials to ensure “individuals are treated with respect and safety.”
Most of the migrants bused to Chicago have traveled from Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, and carried very few items — if any — with them on their journey.
Abbott ordered the Texas Division of Emergency Management in April to begin chartering buses to take migrants from Texas to Washington, D.C. Earlier in August, Abbott added New York City as a second drop-off location. In that time, thousands of migrants have been transported.
Abbott’s “Operation Lone Star” has irritated officials in Washington, D.C. and New York City and cost around $12 million, the El Paso Times reports.
Under Chicago’s Welcoming City Ordinance, all residents are granted access to city services regardless of their immigration status.