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Chicago Mayor Complains as Gov. Abbott Sends Migrants to Windy City 

By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS –   During a Thursday, Sept. 1 news conference, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called Texas Gov. Greg Abbott “racist” after he sent two busloads of immigrants to Chicago. 

Abbott initiated Operation Lone Star, launched in March 2021, as a joint operation between the Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS) and the Texas Military Department to counter illegal immigration and stop the flow of illegal drugs coming across the southern border. 

The operation is separate from the federal law enforcement agencies working along the Texas-Mexico border.

Abbott’s office said the program has bused over 7,600 immigrants to Washington D.C. and over 1,900 to New York City. The state last week sent two busloads made up of 95 immigrants to Chicago last week. Abbott’s office said sending the immigrants to other cities is done to counter President Joe Biden and his “putting the lives of Texans – and Americans – at risk and overwhelming our communities.”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot reacted angrily to the move by Abbott, questioning the Governor’s values. 

“He professes to be a Christian,” Lightfoot said. “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.”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot

Abbott previously explained the reason Chicago was chosen to receive some of the thousands of immigrants apprehended each day along the Texas border. 

“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,” Abbott said. “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.” 

Lightfoot called the move unpatriotic at a Sunday, Sept. 4 press conference. 

“I think it’s decidedly unpatriotic and un-American,” she said. “I understand the pressures that the people of Texas and some of the other border states are under. We see that on a daily basis. But the thing to do is not this. This is creating a human crisis. And treating people without dignity, without respect, it’s not who we are as Americans.”

Abbott hit back at the mayor on Twitter, saying, “Mayor Lightfoot is attacking Texas instead of addressing the real cause of the border crisis: Joe Biden. His inaction at our border is putting the lives of Texans at risk and is overwhelming our communities. Texas is doing Biden’s job to secure the border.”

According to state officials, Operation Lone Star has also led to over 300,800 migrant apprehensions with more than 19,400 criminal arrests. TDPS also reports more than 335 million lethal doses of fentanyl have also been seized. 

Gov. Abbott faces a Nov. 8 election where Texans will go to the polls to decide whether or not to give him another term. He and his opponent, Beto O’Rourke are scheduled to debate Friday, Sept. 30 at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley in Edinburgh. 

Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]

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