Outgoing Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot sent a letter to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday requesting that he stop sending busloads of migrants to the Windy City over what she claims are political motivations.
Abbott started sending migrant buses to Chicago and other sanctuary cities, including New York City, and Washington, D.C., in the fall as a response to the influx of migrant crossings at the southern border. The Republican governor has said the relocations will continue until the federal government secures the border.
Lightfoot, who lost her re-election bid earlier this year, wrote in her letter that Chicago officials learned Texas was planning to send additional migrants to sanctuary cities starting Monday, and urged Abbott to reconsider “this dangerous and inhumane action.”
She said the city has been responsible for the care of more than 8,000 people who had no resources of their own since the first buses arrived from Texas in August – adding that the number continues to grow.
“Nearly all the migrants have been in dire need of food, water, and clothing and many needed extensive medical care,” she wrote. “Some of the individuals you placed on buses were women in active labor, and some were victims of sexual assault. None of these urgent needs were addressed in Texas. Instead, these individuals and families were packed onto buses and shipped across the country like freight without regard to their personal circumstances.”
The Democratic mayor said Chicago lacks the necessary shelters and other resources to address further migrant relocations to the city.
“Chicago is a Welcoming City and we collaborate with County, State, and community partners to rise to this challenge, but your lack of consideration or coordination in an attempt to cause chaos and score political points has resulted in a critical tipping point in our ability to receive individuals and families in a safe, orderly, and dignified way,” Lightfoot wrote.
“I know by your actions that you either do not see or do not care about the trauma these migrants have already faced and continue to suffer under the humanitarian crisis you have created,” she continued. “But I beseech you anyway: treat these individuals with the respect and dignity that they deserve. To tell them to go to Chicago or to inhumanely bus them here is an inviable and misleading choice.”
Lightfoot said she is sympathetic to the challenges of border towns in Texas, but that the issue will not be resolved by passing on the responsibility to other cities.
She emphasized that she will continue calling on the federal government for more resources and support to address the influx of migrants while also demanding policy changes to the U.S. immigration system.
Lightfoot also told the governor she urged the federal government to withhold all FEMA funding for Texas if buses of migrants continue to be sent to Chicago, but noted that she “would rather work with you than against you.”
“Governor Abbott, this is not a state v. state or city v. city problem,” she wrote. “The immigration crisis is a national challenge that requires national collaboration. For the good of our country and the individuals who are seeking safety in refuge, let’s work together to find a real solution. And that real solution will never be the unilateral bussing of migrants to cities like Chicago.”
Lightfoot previously criticized Abbott after the first buses were delivered to Chicago, saying at a press conference in September that the governor was “manufacturing a human crisis.”
“This is just unfair for local governments to have to take on this national obligation,” Adams said in a radio interview in January.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, D, has also sent migrants from his state to sanctuary cities in recent months.