Lightfoot, New York mayor’s letter asking Colorado governor to end migrant transport to Chicago, N.Y. – NBC Chicago

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More than three months after the first busload of migrant asylum seekers arrived in Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and New York City Mayor Eric Adams wrote to Colorado’s Democratic governor, Jared Polis, demanding that the state stop transporting migrants to Chicago and New York.

The first busload of migrants arrived from Texas on August 31, and dozens more have since arrived in Chicago. The bus was launched as part of Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s controversial Operation Lone Star, which sent migrants to Chicago, New York and Washington.

Meanwhile, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis this fall flew to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, a popular summer colony for migrants seeking asylum.

Lightfoot and Adams’ letter reads in part:

“It is clear that the influx of asylum seekers has caused panic among states. While we share concerns about housing a flood of asylum seekers, overloading other cities is not the solution. We respectfully request that you stop sending migrants to New York and Chicago. Since December 2022, Chicago and New York have hosted hundreds of people from Colorado. Before the first bus arrived in our cities, we told a Colorado official that because of the thousands of migrants being inhumanely bused directly from Texas to our cities, neither city had the extra space to accommodate more migrants. Spring 2022.”

According to the latest update provided by city officials on December 20, 2022, 3,854 migrant asylum seekers from Texas arrived in Chicago. In the full letter, Lightfoot said more migrants arrived in the city by other means, including buses from Colorado.

Lightfoot and Adams’ letter said Cuban, Haitian, and Nicaraguan migrants were immediately turned back at the southern border after President Biden tightened border restrictions.

Adams said more than 36,400 migrants have been processed through New York City’s emergency intake system in the past nine months, and many stay with family, friends and other networks. in the letter.

Adams said New York City is expected to spend $1 billion in fiscal year 2023 to combat the housing crisis, with costs expected to rise as the system deteriorates.

The letter acknowledges the status of New York and Chicago as sanctuary cities, while criticizing Polis for not making decisions to help migrants arriving in Colorado.

“Our understanding is that Colorado considers itself a welcoming state. At least as far as we are concerned, whether it is a welcoming country or a welcoming city, leaders must ensure that these values ​​live on. in good times and especially in bad times. That’s what we did, and we encourage you to do the same as governor of Colorado. We know it’s difficult, as we face these challenges, the state of Colorado needs to reconsider its decision to send people who live and receive services from Denver-based community organizations out of state, and especially to cities like ours.

We have seen your claims in the media that you are simply responding to the wishes of migrants to come to cities like New York and Chicago. Our two cities are working tirelessly to ensure that migrants reach their desired destinations where they can be reunited with their loved ones. However, you send migrants and families who have no connections, family members, or community networks to New York and Chicago to welcome them and have the opportunity to live and serve in both cities.

Later in the letter, some of the migrants sent to New York and Chicago had been in Colorado for several weeks, some of whom had formed relationships during that time.

“The city of Denver is known for providing the best services to the homeless population — setting best practices across the country — to deny newcomers access to these resources is unusual. In fact, many newcomers from Colorado have been under your care for weeks, receiving services and making connections only to be destroyed with promises that host cities cannot fulfill.”

Lightfoot and Adams then asked Polis to work with them in a letter to the federal government to press for a solution to the “fictitious” crisis, referring to Abbott’s current policies. force for nine months.

“Let’s work together with the federal government for a national solution that meets this need. New York and Chicago have always been cities of immigrants. As we all grapple with the humanitarian crisis we have created, we must all come together to address this issue across the country, and we look forward to working together to resolve this issue.”

The full text of the letter can be read below:

Dear Police Governor:

The influx of asylum seekers has clearly caused panic among states. While we share concerns about housing a flood of asylum seekers, overloading other cities is not the solution. We respectfully request that you stop sending migrants to New York and Chicago. Since December 2022, Chicago and New York have hosted hundreds of people from Colorado. Before the first bus arrived in one of our cities, we told a Colorado official that because of the thousands of migrants being inhumanely bused directly from Texas to our cities, neither city had the extra space to accommodate more migrants. Spring 2022.

Despite this information, you bussed migrants into our cities. Buses arrived regardless of any city’s ability to accommodate them properly.

It is our understanding that Colorado considers itself a welcoming state. At least as far as we are concerned, whether it is a welcoming nation or a welcoming city, leaders must ensure that these values ​​live on in good times and especially in bad times. We did, and as Governor of Colorado, we encourage you to do the same. We know it’s hard because we’ve been dealing with these challenges for nine months. Colorado needs to reconsider its decision to send people out of state, especially in cities like ours, who receive services from community organizations based in Denver.

We have seen your claims in the media that you are simply responding to the wishes of migrants to come to cities like New York and Chicago. Our two cities are working tirelessly to ensure that migrants reach their desired destinations where they can be reunited with their loved ones. However, you send migrants and families who have no connections, family members, or community networks to New York and Chicago to welcome them and have the opportunity to live and serve in both cities.

Since August 31, 2022, the city of Chicago has received 3,854 migrants bussed from Texas and an additional number of migrants who arrived in Chicago by other means. In part, as you know, none of the asylum seekers have work permits, so Chicago currently serves more than 1,600 people who have nowhere to go in the shelter system. The City of Chicago is a welcoming city and offers comprehensive support services, including emergency shelter; diversion services; necessities such as food and showers; long-term housing; legal services; and physical and behavioral health support needs of individuals. Because of all these factors, its shelter system is now over capacity.

In the last nine months, the number of asylum seekers in New York has increased. As of January 4, 2023, approximately 36,400 asylum seekers have passed through New York City’s emergency admissions system, while others are living with family, friends and other networks. New York has opened emergency shelters and emergency humanitarian relief and assistance centers to meet this unprecedented need. New York City provides many forms of support, including housing, food, legal services, basic necessities such as clothing, and health care, but its capacity to provide services is strained. New York shelters are over capacity. In fiscal year 2023 alone, New York City will spend nearly $1 billion to address its housing crisis, and that number will continue to grow if current arrival trends continue.

We encourage you to follow the best practices established by the US Department of Homeland Security that identify host states as leaders in providing asylum and support services to asylum seekers. And while the city of Denver is known for providing the best services to the homeless population — setting best practices across the country — it’s unusual to deny newcomers access to these resources. . In fact, many Colorado newcomers have been under your tutelage for weeks, receiving services and making connections only to be swept away with promises that host cities can’t keep.

To reiterate, we must stop transporting migrants to Chicago and New York. Let’s work together to ensure people are reunited with their loved ones in the case of family reunification, but sending migrants to our cities where they struggle to find housing and other services is a mistake and will cause further harm. the most vulnerable. These actions are not in line with the values ​​of the declared welcome state and must be stopped immediately.

Instead, let’s work together with the federal government to advocate for a national solution that meets this need. New York and Chicago have always been cities of immigrants. As we all grapple with a manufactured humanitarian crisis, we must all look forward to coming together to solve this national problem and working together to overcome this challenge.

With respect to,

Laurie E. Lightfoot

mayor

Chicago

Eric Adams

mayor

New York City

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