Chicago officials say at least 12 asylum seekers arrived at O’Hare International Airport this week, with all 12 taken to a local police station after telling officers they had no no access to shelter or food.
The individuals were taken by police to the District 16 office, according to Chicago officials.
It was not immediately clear whether they had been flown to Chicago as part of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s ongoing effort to send asylum seekers and migrants to so-called ‘sanctuary cities’ across the United States, a group that includes Chicago, New York and Washington DC
Chicago officials say transportation was arranged for asylum seekers to be taken to area hotels, and they were also connected to support services upon arrival. Chicago officials had not been notified of the asylum seekers’ arrival, a similar story that unfolded when migrant buses rolled into the city in recent weeks.
A total of 509 migrants arrived in Chicago as part of the Texas effort.
Pressure has intensified on the federal government to intervene after migrants were flown on multiple planes to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts on the orders of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis this week.
Like Abbott, DeSantis called the move necessary, saying border states should not be required to bear the impact of migrants and asylum seekers arriving in the United States alone.
“Every community in America should share the burdens,” he told CNN. “It shouldn’t all fall on a handful of red states.”
Another group of migrants from Texas were bused to the US Naval Observatory, the official residence of Vice President Kamala Harris.
“We are sending migrants to his backyard to ask the Biden administration to do its job and secure the border,” Abbott said in a social media post.
The volunteers said the migrant buses that were sent to Washington DC were usually routed to Union Station, but their arrival at the Naval Observatory caught them off guard and forced individuals to stand and s sit outside until help can arrive.
“By the time our team arrived at the migrants, they were very lost,” Tatiana Laborde, director of SAMU First Response, told CNN. “The migrants did not understand where they were standing. It is a very residential area. »
Democratic lawmakers have lambasted the policies in recent days, with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot calling the bus strategy “racist and xenophobic.”
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker issued a disaster emergency proclamation on Wednesday in an effort to help the state with resources as Texas continues to funnel groups of migrants to Chicago. Reporting by Kate Chappell of NBC 5.
California Governor Gavin Newsom has called for an investigation into whether federal laws are being broken by DeSantis and Abbott.
“What (the governors) are doing is not smart. This is cruel,” he said on social media. “I formally call on the DOJ to immediately investigate these inhumane efforts to use children as political pawns.”
The federal government provided assistance to the cities, but did not develop other plans to address the problem. Chicago officials have been among Democratic lawmakers calling on the federal government and the Biden administration to step up efforts to deal with the crisis.
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has declared a state of emergency in the state to call in members of the National Guard to help deal with the new arrivals.
The Republican governors’ actions were designed to target “sanctuary cities,” areas where law enforcement officials are instructed not to cooperate with immigration authorities, which is codified in the order.” Chicago’s Welcoming City.
Additionally, Chicago officials say individuals “will not be questioned about their immigration status” and that individuals will not be denied city services because of their immigration status.
Other US cities, including Washington DC and New York, have similar policies in place.