Argument Between Chicago and Texas Over Busing Migrants Takes Off

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

There has been a lot of back and forth between the state of Texas and the Windy City this week over migrants. If you missed Karen’s rundown yesterday it’s definitely worth a look to get the full backstory. Very briefly, we had a record number of migrants at the southern border this week (12,000 in a single day) and as always Gov. Abbott is making sure that sanctuary cities like Chicago get a small portion of those migrants delivered to their doorstep by bus.


That led to another outburst from Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson who accused Gov. Abbott of “attacking the country” and causing chaos. I’m sure it genuinely feels that way when these needy people with no jobs and no ability to speak English arrive expecting to be taken care of but again, whatever Chicago is getting is a small fraction of what’s happening in Texas on a weekly basis. But on this issue the party of empathy doesn’t seem to have much of it to offer. In fact, as of last week Chicago has started impounding buses that arrive from Texas.

In recent months, so-called “rogue buses” that arrive without prior notice have left city officials scrambling to accommodate asylum seekers.

Now, those buses “shall be subject to seizure and impoundment,” according to the ordinance passed Wednesday. They will also be fined $3,000 on top of storage and towing fees.

The city towed and impounded the first bus under the new order at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office said in a statement Thursday.

Yesterday, Gov. Abbott responded by chartering the first migrant flight to Chicago.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for the first time this week chartered a plane to fly migrants from his state to Chicago, marking an escalation after months of having bused migrants to Democratic-run cities to protest President Joe Biden’s border policies.

Abbott, a Republican, acted after Chicago began impounding buses carrying migrants. The city has said it’s enforcing a new ordinance that impounds buses without permits and those that fail to drop off migrants at designated spots…

The flight from El Paso arrived in Chicago on Tuesday night carrying about 100 people, according to Abbott’s office, which said the passengers signed consent forms available in multiple languages before they departed.


Abbott also posted this video of people boarding the flight on X.

Abbott started the busing of migrants back in April 2022. Since then he has bused about 83,000 migrants to six specific cities.

All of the pushback he has received, all of the moaning from blue city mayors, has been over 83,000 migrants in the span of 18 months. And just the 25,000 migrants Chicago (a city of 2.7 million) has received has created genuine chaos. This story about the wrangling over how to manage the migrants is two weeks old.

In response to the fallout over the now-rejected Brighton Park base camp site for migrants, three Chicago aldermen have called for the resignation of seven officials from Mayor Brandon Johnson’s administration.

The letter – signed by aldermen Anthony Beale, Ray Lopez and Anthony Napolitano – said the city needs “individuals who are serious, deliberative and collaborative in addressing the ongoing migrant asylum-seeker crisis…” and that “What we have seen in Brighton Park, however, does not show members of your administration as being either serious, deliberative or collaborative in addressing this issue.”

The request was rejected by the mayor’s office, which issued a statement that said the aldermen’s correspondence was “not serious.”


But again, the border patrol had 12,000 migrants show up on Monday this week. Most of those people are probably going to be released simply because facilities for holding migrants are already overwhelmed. Many if not most will wind up in Texas. How is the state supposed to deal with that on a daily basis?

This report says 200,000 people have arrived so far this month. If that’s true then December could set another new record for the number of border encounters. The problem keeps getting worse. At what point is the federal government going to come up with a plan to deal with the problem?

Finally, former Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot was interviewed about the border crisis yesterday. She ran through all of the usual talking points about what a terrible guy Gov. Abbott is. But CNN actually pressed her a little asking if she could at least understand the situation Abbott is in given that Texas was dealing with an order of magnitude more migrants than Chicago has been. Lightfoot’s answer, in so many words, was no.

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