Chicago officials have been seeking for volunteers and money to help with the influx of asylum seekers being bused into the city from Texas, as the political debate over the immigration policies of US President Joe Biden’s administration has heated up in recent days.
About 125 migrants, mostly families, have arrived in Chicago via buses from Texas, Mayor Lori Lightfoot recently informed reporters. Of those, 50 arrived on Sunday.
Lightfoot stated at a news conference on Sunday night, “We’re a welcoming city, so we’re always going to step up and do the right thing to make sure that migrants who are coming here to our city are well received.”
The Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, was asked by Chicago’s mayor to work with him on a more humanitarian approach to the influx of asylum seekers and migrants.
It’s the governor of Texas’s acts, Lightfoot added, that are the source of his anger. Although cooperation and coordination are possible, he opts to engage in neither of these activities.
Asylum seekers flooding the U.S.-Mexico border have ratcheted up political tensions. Abbott, who is up for reelection in the midterm elections this November, has used the unprecedented number of asylum seekers crossing the border to bolster his campaign.
He argues that the Biden administration’s ineffective border security measures necessitate the employment of the buses and that additional cities might be added to the list.
Both Democratic mayors in the nation’s capital and largest city have spoken out against the decision and asked the federal government to intervene.
On Sunday, Lightfoot said that multiple Chicago-based nonprofits had begun sending aid. Lightfoot added that Abbott “tries to transfer human beings” (not cargo or freight but people) across the country to an unknown destination. I don’t see why he’s creating this human tragedy.
On Sunday, the city of Chicago published a website asking locals to donate necessities like infant formula, baby food, baby blankets, and Spanish-language books for children to support the new arrivals.
Since April, Abbott has sent buses full of migrants and asylum seekers to Washington, DC, and New York City; just last week, he started sending buses to Chicago.
We know that Texas will keep sending migrants to Chicago via bus, and we’re dedicated to helping our new neighbors adjust to their new home, the website says.
Chicago is a “sanctuary city,” meaning that local authorities will not discriminate against immigrants based on their immigration status or report them to federal immigration authorities (PDF).
In recent years, the United States has invoked a statutory restriction known as “Title 42” to send the vast majority of asylum applicants who cross its southern border back to Mexico or their country of origin.
US Customs and Border Protection reports that from October 1, 2021 and the end of July of this year, roughly 2 million people were removed from the country in accordance with Title 42. Those numbers include people who cross the border multiple times.
In an effort to spread the load, Abbott is transporting refugees and migrants by bus to more liberal areas. The Texas Tribute reports that the state has spent over $13 million on the initiative.
Doug Ducey, Arizona’s Republican governor, has also been sending buses to New York and Washington.
Among the busloads of asylum seekers and refugees are people from Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba, and Nicaragua. Volunteers have reported that many families with young children are on the road and have a hard time finding stable lodging, getting their kids into school, and getting medical attention.