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Texas Gov. Abbott buses 75 migrants to Chicago. Illinois Gov. Pritzker echoes mayor in welcoming them.

MarketWatch logo MarketWatch 9/3/2022 Associated Press
© AP
ASSOCIATED PRESS

CHICAGO (AP) — Seventy-five immigrants bused from Texas by Gov. Greg Abbott have arrived in Chicago, the latest chapter of the bitter political battle over the immigration policy of President Joe Biden’s administration.

From the archives (April 2022): Texas Gov. Abbott’s migrant bus discharges passengers at D.C. building housing Fox News, NBC News, C-SPAN

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office confirmed that the group arrived on Wednesday night and said the city welcomes them. The immigrants are being bused from Texas as part of a strategy launched by Abbott this year to share the influx of people from outside the United States with liberal cities. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has also adopted this policy.

‘Chicago is a welcoming city and as such has collaborated across various departments and agencies to ensure we greeted them with dignity and respect.’ — Ryan Johnson, spokesman for Mayor Lori Lightfoot

“Chicago is a welcoming city and as such has collaborated across various departments and agencies to ensure we greeted them with dignity and respect,” Ryan Johnson, a Lightfoot representative, said in a tweet after the migrants began arriving at Union Station.

Authorities did not specify the immigrants’ countries of origin or say when they arrived in the United States.

“As a city, we are doing everything we can to ensure these immigrants and their families can receive shelter, food, and most importantly protection,” Johnson said in his statement. “Unfortunately, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is without any shame or humanity. 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.”

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker offered his support for the new arrivals. “Illinois welcomes refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants and we are working with federal and city officials to ensure that these individuals are treated with respect and safety as they look to connect with their family and friends,” Pritzker said on Twitter.

The Democratic governor drew on his family history in his welcome message. “My great grandfather came to this country as an immigrant fleeing Ukraine in 1881. Immigrants just like my family seeking freedom and opportunity built this country,” he tweeted.

Abbott has now bused immigrants to Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. — all three cities have Democratic mayors. He confirmed in a statement that the “first group” had been bused to Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reported.

And he suggested that more would be arriving, saying in his statement that Chicago has become a drop-off location as a solution to what he called Biden’s “open border policies overwhelming border communities in Texas.”

Abbott has now shipped buses of immigrants to three cities since April: Washington, New York and Chicago.

Abbott has been waging this battle for months and the mayors of New York and Washington have asked the Biden administration to help with what they describe as a surge of asylum-seeking migrants arriving from border states.

Earlier in the year, Abbott announced that state troopers would stop and inspect commercial vehicles crossing the U.S. Mexico border, a move he acknowledged would “dramatically slow” vehicle traffic near the U.S. ports of entry. He later eased that plan after massive gridlock at the border started to take an economic toll.

Read on: New Mexico seeks to make hay from chaos created at Texas border by Gov. Abbott’s short-lived extra-inspections regime

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