Texas refuses to stop sending migrants to Chicago’s freezing zone

(CNN) — Illinois’ Democratic governor warned in a letter to Texas’ Republican governor on Friday that sending migrants to the “Windy City” now could cost lives, in hopes of stemming the arrival of migrants as winter weather hits Chicago. This will add to the already deadly costs of the immigration crisis.

“While action is being taken at the federal level, I pray for mercy for the thousands of people who are unable to speak for themselves,” Gov. JB Pritzker wrote. “As winter threatens the lives of vulnerable people, please pause Traffic, stop sending people into our state.”

“Your callousness and callousness in sending out buses and planes full of migrants in this weather now endangers the life of every single person who arrives,” he continued. “As a result of their actions, the health and survival of hundreds of children and families At risk.”

Since 2022, however, Gov. Greg Abbott’s administration has doubled down on its mission to bus and fly migrants from North Texas to Democratic-led cities such as Chicago, New York and Denver to “Providing support to our overstretched and overwhelmed population”. His spokesman, Andrew Mahaleris, told CNN on Friday, noting that “before Governor Abbott began shipping immigrants to Chicago, Governor Pritzker was very proud to call Illinois ‘the most welcoming state in the country. ‘s state’.”

Wind chill in Chicago is expected to plummet to 32 degrees below zero on Tuesday morning — cold enough to cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes, CNN Weather reports. For those unaccustomed to the biting cold, including migrants who often arrive wearing only the clothes on their backs, it can be a life-or-death challenge.

Recently, Chicago’s shelters have become so overcrowded that incoming immigrants are being held in designated “arrival areas,” with limited access to food and health services and only Chicago Transit Authority buses parked for temporary warmth.

Immigrants stay warm on a Chicago city bus as snow falls on Friday.Photo credit: Erin Hooley/AP

Democratic Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson said Friday that there were about 140 migrants on the buses, down from more than 300 at the peak, although the city said there were no migrants in arrivals area shelters as of Sunday. Immigrants await resettlement.

As for whether the conditions there are acceptable, Johnson said: “Listen, that’s a good question, you know? “It’s certainly not acceptable for the (Texas) governor to send people to the city of Chicago, but we every Evaluate every moment. “

In recent weeks, the mayors of New York, Chicago and Denver have been outraged by “rogue buses” transporting thousands of migrants across Texas and have tried to stem the rise by enacting orders and requirements within their own jurisdictions , requiring bus operators to coordinate arrivals faces the threat of embargoes, fines and even jail time.

Leaders in several Chicago suburbs even voted this month to ban buses from picking up migrants without warning, while charter buses are ferrying migrants across New Jersey to evade rules aimed at limiting arrivals in New York City.

Meanwhile, a New York City Council spokesperson told CNN on Monday that homeless immigrants will be subject to a new 11 pm to 6 am curfew starting Tuesday at four centers run by the city’s Department of Emergency Management.

In November, Chicago implemented a 60-day asylum stay policy based on the arrival date of immigrants to avoid overwhelming the shelter system and to serve asylum seekers while they seek longer-term housing. But Johnson said Friday that city officials were suspending that restriction and making some exceptions to the policy because of the severe weather.

“Do your job and secure the border”

As for Abbott’s position, “Governor Pritzker should not be complaining about immigrants being sent from Texas as we are also preparing to experience severe winter weather across the state, and Governor Pritzker should be asking him to The leader of the party who ultimately does the job and secures the border continues to do so and refuses to do so,” his spokesman Mahali Reese told CNN in a statement on Friday.

He added: “Until President Biden steps up and does the job of border security, Texas will continue to transport migrants to sanctuary cities to help our local partners respond to this crisis that Biden has created. “

A Chicago Transit Authority heated bus was parked at the Immigration Landing Zone on Friday amid extremely cold weather.Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP/Getty Images

Over the weekend, Mexican authorities recovered the bodies of three migrants, including a woman and two children, who had drowned in the Rio Grande River in Eagle Pass, Texas. It’s the epicenter of the recent immigration crisis and an area where authorities have cordoned off the United States. Officials say the Border Patrol has access to miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Relations between state and federal officials have been tense as the White House and lawmakers question Abbott’s policies, including the use of razor wire at the border and a new law criminalizing illegal entry into Texas.

Joe Biden’s administration complained to the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday about the state’s Border Patrol blocking a city park along the river and asked the high court to quickly intervene. The state told the high court on Saturday it was “working quickly” to ensure Border Patrol has access to the Shelby Park boat ramp.

The White House called the latest migrant deaths “tragic” and described Abbott’s border directive as a “political stunt,” deputy press secretary Angelo Fernandez Hernandez said Sunday.

“As we continue to collect data on the circumstances of these tragic deaths, one thing is clear: Governor Abbott’s political tactics are cruel, inhumane and dangerous. The U.S. Border Patrol must have access to the border to enforce our laws, “Fernandez Hernandez told CNN in a statement.

CNN’s Andy Rose, Rosa Flores, Gloria Pazmiño, Whitney White Whitney Wild and meteorologist Allison Chinchar contributed to this report.

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