As of Tuesday, 1,452 processed migrants, including individuals, families, children, and infants have arrived in Chicago from Texas, according to Joe Dutra, public affairs director with Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services.
“Illinois is a welcoming state,” Dutra said. “We are committed to assisting each family and individual, providing human services with respect and dignity.”
Dutra said that the City expects more migrants to continue arriving and will release updates accordingly.
Johannes Favi, immigrant transit assistance director at Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants, said that many of the migrants arriving are seeking asylum from gang violence and even natural disasters in their countries.
“The population will kind of switch depending on what’s happening in the countries,” Favi said.
The migrants have been bused to Chicago over the last several weeks as part of Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star.
Abbott launched the busing program to bring attention to the nation’s immigration policies and the rising number of border crossers.
The first busload of migrants arrived in Chicago on August 31. Since then, buses with around 100 migrants have arrived every few days at Union Station or in the suburbs, such as Burr Ridge and Elk Grove Village. From there, they have been taken to temporary housing at places such as the Salvation Army or local hotels.
Earlier this month, Illinois’ Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a disaster proclamation to secure resources for the migrants bused from Texas and deployed 75 National Guard members to assist with the logistics of receiving the migrants.
The program, which offers free and voluntary bus rides to migrants who have applied for asylum, began in April with Gov. Abbott sending buses to the nation’s Capital. Eventually, the program began to send buses of migrants to New York City and then Chicago.
“President Biden’s inaction at our southern border continues putting the lives of Texans — and Americans — at risk and is overwhelming our communities,” said Governor Abbott. “To continue providing much-needed relief to our small, overrun border towns, Chicago will join fellow sanctuary cities Washington, D.C. and New York City as an additional drop-off location.
“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.”