CHICAGO — City officials and aid organizations welcomed at least 50 migrants who were bused to the city from Texas on Sunday as Mayor Lori Lightfoot continued to blast Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
The migrants are in addition to about 70 migrants who arrived Wednesday in Chicago as part of the Texas governor’s plan to send asylum seekers to Democrat-led cities. Lightfoot has said she expects more to come to Chicago — and the city will need federal help to serve them.
The city has set up a website to coordinate volunteers who wish to provide food, shelter, medical assistance and other forms of aid to the migrants.
The most recent migrants are coming from Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Panama and Venezuela, said Johannes Favi, who works with the Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants. Some of their journeys started more than two months ago, he said.
Local organizations have scrambled to coordinate a response to the arrivals, working with officials to ensure the migrants have shelter and other resources once they are dropped off Downtown.
“This is a complex situation because the governor in Texas is sending people north trying to create chaos,” Favi said. “It is very great to see that the city is stepping up.”
Lightfoot ripped into Abbott at a Sunday news conference, saying neither city nor state officials have been contacted by the Texas governor about arrival times for the migrants. Instead, the city has relied on a whisper network of groups coordinating across state lines to tell Illinois officials when migrants are set to arrive, Favi and Lightfoot said.
“I understand that [Abbott] obviously has no interest whatsoever in providing support for the people who are coming to Texas,” Lightfoot said. “But then do the right thing and collaborate and cooperate. Instead of us having to guess, ‘Are they coming? Are they not coming? How many? What are their needs?’ That is insanity that does not have to happen.”
Organizations such as Favi’s have spent decades assisting migrants in Chicago. But the ones being bused in from Texas have different needs, with many planning to stay in Chicago, Favi said. He said he is thankful the city has lived up to its sanctuary status.
“We are a welcoming city,” Favi said. “And I’m really grateful [the city] has been giving these people dignity and help.”
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