Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson lashed out at Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday, saying the Republican leader was creating “chaos” around the country over his bussing program that has transported thousands of asylum seekers from border towns to Democratically-led cities.
Speaking at an unrelated news conference, Johnson said migrants were being brought to Chicago in unhealthy conditions and have strained city programs and resources.
“They come to the city of Chicago, where we have homelessness, we have mental health clinics that have been shut down and closed,” he said.
“The issue is not just how we respond in the city of Chicago,” Johnson added. “It’s the fact we have a governor, a governor, an elected official in the state of Texas, that is placing families on buses without shoes, cold, wet, tired, hungry, afraid, traumatized, and then they come to the city of Chicago, where we have homelessness, mental health clinics that have been shut down and closed. We have people who are seeking employment. The governor of Texas needs to take a look in the mirror, with the chaos he’s causing for the people of this country.”
Texas has transported thousands of migrants to so-called sanctuary cities to bring attention to the influx of illegal immigration to the Biden administration and relieve overwhelmed border towns and border authorities.
Officials in New York City have also criticized Abbott as asylum seekers there have strained resources and city agencies.
“This is not just a Chicago dynamic. He is attacking our country!” Johnson said of Abbott.
Abbott’s Press Secretary Andrew Mahaleris told Fox News Digital that Johnson was “flat out lying.”
“If he truly cared about these migrants, he would stop spreading falsehoods and complaining about a few thousand migrants being bused into his sanctuary city,” he said. “Instead, Mayor Johnson should call on President Biden to take immediate action to secure the border — something the President continues failing to do.”
Mahaleris noted that migrants willingly sign a voluntary consent waiver available in various languages upon boarding a bus in which the destination has been agreed to. Each bus is also stocked with food and water and makes stops along the route to refuel and switch drivers, he said.
Migrants are also allowed to purchase extra items or disembark at any stop because they were previously processed and released by border authorities, said Mahaleris.
The mayor’s remarks came after a 5-year-old migrant boy recently died over the weekend and other migrants were hospitalized for illnesses. Johnson has also taken aim at the bus companies being used to bring the asylum seekers to his city.
Cristina Pacione-Zayas, his deputy chief of staff, told the Chicago Tribune that the companies are now no longer communicating about where they are dropping migrants off in an effort to avoid city penalties.
The city has filed over 50 lawsuits in an attempt to hold bus companies accountable for shuttling illegal immigrants to an already overburdened city amid winter conditions.
“Migrants are no longer being dropped off at the city’s landing zone on buses from the southern border, causing people to wander with no direction looking for shelter, according to an aide to Mayor Johnson,” The Chicago Tribune reported.
Fox News Digital’s Alexander Hall contributed to this report.
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