Chicago, Texas clash over migrants: 'Shameful but sadly expected'

With word that Texas will once again be sending busloads of migrants to sanctuary cities, including Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Texas Governor Greg Abbott sparred on Twitter Monday.

In a letter sent to Abbott on Sunday, Lightfoot asked him to stop bussing migrants to sanctuary cities – calling the practice "inhumane and dangerous."

"Some of the individuals you placed on buses were women in active labor, and some were victims of sexual assault. None of these urgent needs were addressed in Texas. Instead, these individuals and families were packed onto buses and shipped across the country like freight without regard to their personal circumstances," Lightfoot wrote.

Since last August, officials say more than 8,000 migrants have arrived to Chicago, and now, another surge is expected. However, the city's shelters are full and resources are drained, according to Lightfoot’s letter.


"I think that Governor Abbott is doing what he thinks is the most political thing that he can do to cause problems in the country for democratically-controlled states and cities," said Gov. J.B. Pritzker. "When people are being shipped with no notice, very little notice, to the City of Chicago and Chicago has to respond to those needs as fast as they can, and when shelters are full, there are no longer hotels and motels that are just readily available to put people up in, the challenge is great."

The city has received more than $150 million from the state to assist with asylum seekers that are coming to Illinois.

"In January we passed an additional supplemental appropriation that included money for the City of Chicago and for other agencies, about $90 million, to make sure that we were providing these services necessary. We’re talking about shelter, food, healthcare," said Pritzker.

Still, Lightfoot wrote to Abbott that receiving any more migrants will compromise the city's "ability to welcome them in a safe, orderly and dignified way."

"[The federal government] is helping to push the money from FEMA out the door to the states, but it isn’t enough," said Pritzker.

In response to Lightfoot’s letter, Abbott responded Monday by sharing a letter of his own on Twitter, saying he will continue to send migrants to Chicago and other sanctuary cities, to relieve the burden on his state.

"It is ironic to hear you complain about Chicago’s struggle to deal with a few thousand illegal immigrants, which is a fraction of the record-high numbers we deal with in Texas on a regular basis," Abbott said in the letter.

"If you truly want to 'work together to find a real solution' to this border crisis gripping our nation, you must call on the Biden Administration to do its job by securing our border," Abbott went on to say.

To that, Lightfoot fought back, taking to Twitter Monday evening and writing that Abbott "continues to race to the bottom to score political points with no regard for the human lives involved or the consequences." She added, "Shameful but sadly expected."

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker called the exchange between Chicago and Texas revealing.

"There’s no political advantage that should be taken from acting in an inhumane fashion toward people who arrive here with literally the clothes on their backs, children in hand and healthcare challenges, and just shipping them across the country. This man doesn't understand what it is to stand up for human rights," Pritzker said.

To help meet basic needs of the migrants living here, the city is asking for donations of brand-new shoes and socks, underwear, athletic pants for adults, towels and more.

Those items can be purchased directly through the city's Amazon Wish List.