Mayor Lori Lightfoot urges Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to halt transports of migrants to Chicago

Lightfoot warns the Texas governor to pause new transfers of migrants as the city’s resources are stretched thin. Texas plans to resume busing migrants on Monday.

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot sent a letter to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott blasting his plans to send more migrants to Chicago and other cities. Since last year, Chicago has taken in more than 8,000 migrants, taxing the city’s resources for health, housing and food.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

In a letter sent to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot urged his administration to stop plans to bus migrants to Chicago, calling the move “inhumane” and “dangerous.”

According to the letter, the Texas leader plans to resume busing migrants to cities throughout the United States, including Chicago, starting Monday. With more than 8,000 migrants already arriving into Chicago since August of last year, the mayor wrote in her letter to Abbott, “We simply have no more shelters, spaces or resources.”

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A Chicago police officer talks to Luis Cardona, left, and Andre Smith in February as they stand in the street and try to stop a Chicago Transit Authority bus from dropping asylum seekers off at the former James Wadsworth Elementary School at 6420 S. University Ave., which was converted into a temporary shelter for newly arrived immigrants.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Lightfoot further blasted Abbott’s plans and said many of the migrants who had arrived in the city were in dire need of food, water and clothing. In some cases, the mayor added, extensive medical care was needed, pointing to a few incidents in which women in active labor were placed on buses.

“None of these urgent needs were addressed in Texas,” she wrote.

Lightfoot said she was sympathetic to the challenges that border cities face. However, the mayor wrote, “The national immigration problem will not be solved by passing on the responsibility to other cities.”

At a joint City Council committee meeting on Friday, Chicago leaders said the city is currently facing a $53 million shortfall in its attempt to care for the surge in migrants. In 2023, Chicago has received “zero dollars” from the federal government, budget director Susie Park said.

Still, Lightfoot said she would continue to call on the federal government for more resources and support and make policy changes as migrants make their way into the city.

The mayor added that she would also call on emergency funding to be withheld from Texas if the state resumed sending migrant-filled buses.

“I know by your actions that you either do not see or do not care about the trauma these migrants have already faced,” Lightfoot wrote to Abbott. “But I beseech you anyway: treat these individuals with the respect and dignity that they deserve.”

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