It’s been nearly a month since the first bus of asylum-seeking migrants arrived in Chicago from Texas as part of Gov. Greg Abbott’s ‘Operation Lone Star’, which also sent migrants to New York and in Washington, D.C.
Abbott’s controversial policy inspired fellow executive, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, to airlift migrant asylum seekers arriving in Florida to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, known as a summer vacation hotspot. summer.
As of September 24, Chicago had accepted 1,177 asylum seekers who arrived from Texas on buses sent by Abbott since the first bus arrived in the city on August 31.
Last week, Democratic Illinois Senator and Majority Whip Dick Durbin criticized Texas and Florida Governors Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis for their handling of the crisis.
“It’s pathetic that these governors are taking advantage of these helpless people and promising them to get on this bus, and life will be fine,” Durbin said on NBC’s Meet The Press.
“And they go to places far removed from where they are supposed to appear under the requirements of our law,” Durbin continued. “It’s always the children who end up being the victims.”
City officials say many children and infants are among those seeking refuge in the United States, many of whom have traveled through multiple countries en route to Texas.
“Illinois is a welcoming state. We are committed to helping every family and individual, providing humane services with respect and dignity. We expect more arrivals to be welcomed and the city will continue to provide updates. daily updates on these arrivals,” city spokesman Joseph Dutra said. said.
Dutra added that upon arrival, migrants receive immediate shelter and support with thorough case management and links to city and community services and agencies.
After the first group of migrants arrived in Chicago last month, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said her administration was aware of the plan and the city was working to find shelter and other services for those transported by bus.
“We understand that many are fleeing violent, traumatic or otherwise unstable environments,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “We will respond with essential services as these people navigate the next steps of their journey and our community partners have worked diligently to provide a safety net.”
Here’s a breakdown of what we know about politics, how Chicago is involved, and more.
What is the policy and when did it start?
Texas Governor Greg Abbott launched the ‘disembarkation’ policy in April this year, when he sent a busload of asylum seekers to Washington, D.C. to protest President Joe Biden’s immigration policies .
The operation stemmed from Abbott’s criticism of the Biden administration’s attempts to lift a Title 42 order that had allowed the United States to deny asylum seekers entry into the country during the COVID pandemic.
According to CNN, the program cost Texas about $12.7 million. Abbott’s office says asylum seekers are only transported after giving written permission, but the network says it’s “unclear” what options are presented to those people.
Where were the buses sent?
In addition to buses sent to Washington, DC in the spring, Abbott then sent migrant buses to New York in early August and sent the first bus to Chicago on August 31.
“President Biden’s inaction on our southern border continues to put the lives of Texans — and Americans — at risk and overwhelm our communities,” Abbott said in a statement at the time.
Abbott chose the destinations because of their status as “sanctuary cities,” which include policies prohibiting authorities from asking residents about their immigration status while refraining from disclosing information to federal authorities.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has sent asylum-seeking migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, an island south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, marking the fourth location where asylum-seeking migrants arriving in the United States have been sent .
Under Chicago’s “Welcoming City Ordinance,” officials will not ask about immigration status, nor will they release such information to federal authorities. Services will not be denied based on immigration status, according to a document released by the city.
Where else could the buses be sent?
So far, Abbott’s policy has targeted three Democratic-run “sanctuary cities” in the North, though several other major Democratic-run cities have adopted similar policies.
Major US cities such as Boston, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle have similar immigration policies in place and are all run by Democratic mayors, making them potential destinations for migrant asylum seekers in as part of Abbott’s policy.