Texas Governor Greg Abbott this week announced a new destination for migrants being bused out of the Lone Star State: Chicago, a self-proclaimed "sanctuary city."
Two buses filled with migrants who illegally entered the United States arrived in Chicago's Union Station at 7:30 pm on Wednesday. There were more than 75 aboard, and various reports suggest most were from Venezuela.
After the drop-off was complete, Abbott issued a statement in which he announced that Chicago would now join Washington, DC and New York City as a regular drop-off location as part of "Operation Lone Star":
"President Biden's inaction at our southern border continues putting the lives of Texans—and Americans—at risk and is overwhelming our communities.
Mayor Lightfoot loves to tout the responsibility of her city to welcome all regardless of legal status, and I look forward to seeing this responsibility in action as these migrants receive resources from a sanctuary city with the capacity to serve them."
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot isn't pleased. In a Thursday afternoon tirade, Lightfoot heaped scorn on Abbott:
"Let me say loud and clear to Greg Abbott and his enablers in Texas with these continued political stunts, Gov. Abbott has confirmed what unfortunately many of us had known already, that he is a man without any morals, humanity or shame.
Gov. Abbott's racist and xenophobic practices of expulsion have only amplified the challenges many of these migrants have experienced on their journey to find a safe place. The governor's actions are not just inhumane, they are unpatriotic."
Mayor Lori Lightfoot torches Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) over bussing migrants to Chicago: He is "a man without any morals, humanity or shame."— Heartland Signal (@HeartlandSignal) September 1, 2022
"I also want to say: Shame on the bus companies, who frankly are just as complicit as being a part of this indignity." pic.twitter.com/6akADE7HNO
Though Lightfoot calls the practice "expulsion," Abbott's office has said that those who board the buses do so voluntarily, signing a consent form that's available in multiple languages and which indicates the final destination.
What's more, they're free to hop off anywhere along the way, as explained by News Nation's Robert Sherman, who's following a migrant bus along its path from Eagle Pass, Texas to Washington and reporting along the way:
Here’s a more in-depth look at why some of the migrants on the bus we’re following will get off before we arrive in DC: pic.twitter.com/m2rxaNekYp— Robert Sherman (@RobertShermanTV) September 2, 2022
Despite the fact that migrants are benefitting from a free ride that takes them closer to their desired U.S. destination, Lightfoot even went after the bus company, saying the operators "frankly are just as complicit as being a part of this indignity."
The state has solicited donations to help cover the cost, but has only brought in $167,828 through Aug. 17. So far, the campaign has helped between and eight and nine thousand migrants move beyond Texas, implying a cost of at least $1,400 per migrant. It's less clear how much the state would spend on them were they all to stay.
Inspired by Texas, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has launched a migrant-busing operation of his own, which has sent more than 1,500 migrants on a 40-hour ride to the country's capital.