Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson has urged the Biden administration to take further steps to address the ongoing immigration crisis affecting the sanctuary city, arguing that the current influx is unsustainable without “significant federal support.”
A Humanitarian Mission Struggling to Sustain
The progressive Democrat appeared on CNN on Dec. 27, emphasizing his office’s work in responding to what he called a “humanitarian mission.”
Johnson’s administration has faced a “remarkable challenge” in welcoming thousands of unvetted immigrants, with the city currently housing 15,000 in 27 temporary shelters and a total of 4,500 children in the Chicago public schools system.
Call for coordination and federal assistance
“But let me just say this to make this very clear: what I have said repeatedly is that we have to have coordination,” Mr. Johnson said.
“Since taking office, we’ve had an uncoordinated approach. And what I’ve worked to do, instead of having chaos, is provide some structure and calm around the situation. And without significant federal support, this is not sustainable.”
Mayor Johnson warns of national ramifications
Mr. Johnson warned that without “real significant investment from our federal government,” it would not only be Chicago that is unable to manage the influx of immigrants but “the entire country.”
Over 26,000 unvetted immigrants have arrived in Chicago since August 2022, according to the governor’s office.
Sanctuary city slams Texas governor’s immigration tactics
While the city models itself as a so-called “sanctuary state” for unvetted immigrants, Mr. Johnson criticized Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s “reckless” and “dangerous” decision to send busloads of what Texas calls illegal immigrants to cities and states like Chicago.
Mayoral collaboration and coordinated approach
Mr. Johnson said he met with 80 mayors last week to organize a “more coordinated approach” to the crisis for the state of Illinois along with county officials.
“That is what is required in this moment: a real sophisticated coordination while also pushing the federal government to provide the resources and support so we can actually sustain this mission,” the mayor added.
Escalation: Impounding buses and flights
Mr. Johnson’s comments come after Chicago reportedly began impounding buses sent by Texas to drop off illegal immigrants in the city and imposing fines on buses that do so without a permit.
In response, Texas began transporting immigrants into the sanctuary city via planes.
Spokesman accuses Mayor of violating ‘Welcoming City’ ordinance
Andrew Mahaleris, Mr. Abbott’s spokesman, criticized Mayor Johnson for “failing to live up to his city’s ‘Welcoming City’ ordinance by targeting migrant buses from Texas.”
Gov. Abbott asserted that Texas will continue its operations to include flights to Chicago until the Biden administration “steps up to secure the border.”
Governor Abbott criticizes Chicago Democrats on immigration policies
Gov. Abbott noted that Democrats in Chicago are now “waking up to the reality that open border policies are failed policies.”
The ongoing tug-of-war between state and city officials highlights the complexities and challenges faced in managing the immigration crisis, demanding a collaborative and sustainable federal response.