Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX) said Wednesday his administration bussed the first group of migrants north to Chicago in response to the border crisis that has overwhelmed Texan communities.
Abbott said he would add the Windy City to the list of drop-off locations, which have included Washington, D.C., and New York City. He argued that it would provide “much-needed relief” to the state’s border towns overrun by a massive influx of people pouring over the southern border.
“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 press release.
Abbott said he looks forward to watching Chicago’s sanctuary city services serve the migrants and the response from the city’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who “loves to tout the responsibility of her city to welcome all regardless of legal status.”
“Chicago is a welcoming city and as such has collaborated across various departments and agencies to ensure we greeted them with dignity and respect,” a spokesperson for the mayor’s office said in a statement. “As a city, we are doing everything we can to ensure these immigrants and their families can receive shelter, food, and most importantly, protection.”
The statement added that Chicago welcomes “hundreds of migrants every year” and provides much-needed assistance.
“Unfortunately, Texas Governor Greg Abbott is without any shame or humanity,” it continued. “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.”
CNN reported that a state government spreadsheet it obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request showed that Texas has spent more than $12 million on Wynne Transportation charter services that have bussed migrants to Washington and New York City since April.
Abbott said in a news conference in April that the program would likely make taxpayers front part of the bill for such services.
“Because Joe Biden is not securing the border, the state of Texas is having to step up and spend Texas taxpayers’ money doing the federal government’s job,” the governor said at the time, according to CNN.
Texas officials had bussed more than 6,500 migrants to Washington, D.C., and New York City as of early August. Arizona has also bused about 1,000 migrants to other states.
Governor Abbott claimed in April that if Biden were to end Title 42 expulsions, the impact could soon result in as many as 18,000 migrant apprehensions per day.
The United States Customs and Border Protection reported earlier this month that authorities had more than 2,200,000 encounters with illegal immigrants in the fiscal year 2022.
Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) recently claimed that nearly 4.9 million illegal aliens have crossed U.S. borders under Biden’s watch, “including some 900,000 ‘gotaways’ who eluded apprehension and have since disappeared into American communities.”
To put it in context, Dan Stein, the president of FAIR, compared it to the entire population of Ireland immigrating to America.
“Roughly the equivalent of the entire population of Ireland has illegally entered the United States in the 18 months President Biden has been in office, with many being released into American communities,” Stein said in a press release.
Mairead Elordi and Tim Meads contributed to this report.