Abbott announces Chicago as a new destination for migrants

Abbott announces Chicago as a new destination for migrants

Isabel Webb Carey
Isabel Webb Carey
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September 1, 2022

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced late Wednesday that Chicago would become a new destination for migrants in his strategy that has so far cost the state of Texas more than $12 million.

Earlier this year, Abbott began relocating thousands of migrants from Texas border communities to Washington, D.C., and New York City by bus earlier this year. The ongoing political stunt followed  the end of Title 42, a pandemic-era emergency health order which allowed immigration authorities at the border to deny entry. In total, more than 7,400 migrants have been bused to the nation’s capital, and over 1,500 have been sent to New York City, according to the governor’s office. According to the Texas Division of Emergency Management, Texas has spent more than $12 million sending busloads of migrants to East Coast cities.

In a statement, Abbott took a swipe at both President Joe Biden and Mayor Lori Lightfoot, saying in part, “President Biden’s inaction at our southern border continues putting the lives of Texans-and Americans-at risk and is overwhelming our communities.

“To continue to provide much-needed relief to our small, overrun border towns, Chicago will join fellow sanctuary cities…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.”

The Mayor’s Office said the city is happy to welcome the migrants and to provide them with food, shelter and protection, but added, “This is not new; Chicago welcomes hundreds of migrants every year to our city and provides much-needed assistance. Unfortunately, Texas Governor Greg Abbot is without any shame or humanity. But ever since he put these racist practices of expulsion in place, we have been working with our community partners to ready the city to receive these individuals.”

The statement echoes statements from New York City Mayor Eric Adams who had similarly called the strategy “inhumane.” NYC has since continued to provide shelter to asylum-seekers. New York is required by law to provide same-day housing for any adult who requests it, regardless of immigration status. The city has contracted with emergency hotels and is also relying on volunteer groups to help provide clothing, food and shelter to the new arrivals.

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Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey attends the University of Texas at Austin in the Plan II Honors Program with a certificate in Core Texts and Ideas. Her interests include education, local governance, sustainability, and equity. Isabel enjoys dancing, hiking, and live music. She is also a staff writer for the Texas Orator. Email her at isabelwebbcarey@gmail.com
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