A bus carrying dozens of migrants rolled into Chicago Wednesday night as part of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's controversial program designed to send asylum-seekers to northern "sanctuary cities."
Abbott’s office announced the group, which consisted of about 75 migrants from Venezuela, was dropped off at Union Station, saying that Chicago will join Washington, D.C. and New York as a location for his administration’s “drop-off policy.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot welcomed the migrants, but also took the opportunity to blast Abbott’s immigration as “racist and xenophobic.”
“This is about a cheap political point. It’s not about sharing the load,” she said. “To Greg Abbott and his enablers in Texas: with these continued political stunts, (he) has confirmed what many of us had already known: he’s a man without any morals, humanity, or shame.”
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The Illinois Venezuelan Alliance, an organization co-founded by Angelina Rodriguez and Dr. Ana Gil Garcia, is working tirelessly to help the group get settled.
"We are going to bring food and have a welcome kit, and make sure they know where to go, what to do," Garcia said.
Under Chicago’s “Welcoming City Ordinance,” officials will not ask about immigration status, nor will it disclose that information to federal authorities. Services will not be denied based on immigration status, according to a document published by the city.
Lightfoot on Thursday emphasized the city welcomes the migrants with respect and is working to provide resources. However, she criticized Texas' governor for sending the group to Chicago without offering assistance or coordination.
"The governor’s actions are not just inhumane they are... this is, cannot be who we are as Americans," she said. "We have to stand for a different and better set of principles."
Immediate efforts include finding shelter for the group and getting medical care to those in need.
"They're providing food, clothes, diapers, anything that is needed for them," said Garcia.
Lightfoot said the city hasn't budgeted for the migrants' arrival and is leaning on its partners to help bridge the gap and vowing to leave no human behind.
"We are very thankful to the city of Chicago to be very proactive to receive our people," Rodriguez said.