Posted on December 21, 2023

Texas Begins Flying Migrants to Sanctuary Cities With First Flight to Chicago

Adam Shaw and Bill Melugin, Fox News, December 20, 2023

The state of Texas has started flying migrants to sanctuary cities, with the first flight arriving in Chicago on Tuesday evening, Fox News has learned, marking an escalation of Gov. Greg Abbott’s previous strategy of bussing migrants to ease the pressure on the border state.

Fox was told that the first flight left El Paso on Tuesday afternoon with 120 migrants on board and arrived at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport later in the day. Sources in Abbott’s office told Fox that all migrants signed voluntary waivers, as they do when bussed.

The decision was partially in response to Chicago’s interference of the buses traveling to the sanctuary city. The city has launched lawsuits against companies transporting the migrants.

The move from Abbott is an escalation from the strategy in place since April 2022 when he began bussing migrants first to Washington, D.C., and later expanded it to include other cities with “sanctuary” policies that forbid or limit cooperation with federal immigration enforcement.

Abbott’s office said this week that the state has bussed over 82,900 migrants to cities, including Washington, D.C.; New York City; Chicago; Philadelphia; Denver; and Los Angeles. Abbott has said the operation provides “vital relief” to border towns and has promised to keep doing it “until [President] Biden secures the border.”

Critics have accused Abbott of performing an “illegal” political stunt, with the mayors of Chicago and New York in particular excoriating Abbott for the buses. Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson this week accused Abbott of creating chaos across the country.