Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot bashed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott over the holiday weekend on the basis of his religion, claiming that the state’s migrant busing initiative went against the premise of Christianity.
Lightfoot, a Democrat, blasted the Republican after a second bus of migrants was dropped off in the Illinois city. Just over 100 migrants have been dropped off in Chicago over the past week, compared to the 1 million who have been released into the United States along the southern border since President Joe Biden took office. Migrants released into Texas border towns have placed a burden on local transportation and housing, prompting the state to offer free transportation to several northern U.S. cities.
“He professes to be a Christian,” Lightfoot said during a press conference Sunday. “This is not the Christianity and the teachings of the Bible that I know. And I think religious leaders all across the country are standing up and denouncing exactly this.”
Abbott spokeswoman Renae Eze told the Washington Examiner on Tuesday that Lightfoot’s attack on his faith was a “pathetic political ploy” to distract from her “unwillingness to uphold her city’s self-declared sanctuary status.” Chicago has been a sanctuary zone since 1985 and will not cooperate with federal law enforcement officers who enforce immigration laws.
“Where was Mayor Lightfoot’s outrage and condemnation of President Biden as he flew planeloads of migrants across the country and dropped them in communities in the cover of night?” Eze said in a statement. “Instead of lowly personal attacks on the Governor and complaining about a few dozen migrants being bused into her sanctuary city, Mayor Lightfoot should call on President Biden to take immediate action to secure the border — something the President continues failing to do.”
Chicago is asking residents to donate supplies to migrants, including gift cards, new clothing, diapers, baby formula, blankets, Spanish books, and strollers. The city is also asking for volunteers as it works to help migrants find jobs, permanent housing, and other resources. It launched a website for residents to help.
The city has not provided housing for migrants and is relying on the privately operated Salvation Army Freedom Center in Humboldt Park to shelter those in need. One local Methodist church has been providing beds to migrants since June, well before Texas began busing people to the city. Despite that, Lightfoot continued her criticism of Abbott.
“He tries to send human beings, not cargo, not freight, but human beings across the country to an uncertain destination,” the Chicago mayor said. “He is manufacturing a human crisis, and it makes no sense to me.”
In April, the Texas Division of Emergency Management began providing migrants a free mode of transportation from the southern border to Washington, D.C., where some migrants released by the Border Patrol plan to travel to family and friends but lack the money to get there. It expanded the busing operation to New York City earlier this summer and opened it to Chicago last week.
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Migrants released from federal custody are allowed to remain in the U.S. as they go through court proceedings for illegally entering the country from Mexico. However, proceedings take five to eight years. Seeking asylum is not a requirement to be released into the U.S.