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Texas bus company sues Chicago over law targeting buses carrying migrants

Jan 19

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Fighting between state and city leaders is leaving migrants out in the cold — literally and figuratively. With the near-constant busing of thousands of migrants from Texas to cities like New York and Chicago, finding warm shelter space is next to impossible. Chicago uses public transportation buses as makeshift warming centers for migrants, many of whom officials said were dropped off with no winter clothing.

“I slept sitting because there is almost no space left,” Angelo Travieso, a migrant sent from Texas to Chicago, said. “The buses are also small, and you practically have to stay inside because of the heating because it is deadly cold outside.”

The volume of migrants being dropped off has led city officials in Chicago to implement rules restricting where and when buses could drop off migrants and to notify the city ahead of time or risk having buses impounded and fines of up to $3,000. The rule rippled across the Windy City, with suburbs and counties surrounding Chicago implementing similar requirements, even putting up signs warning buses carrying migrants to keep driving.

You seem to have no interest in working on bipartisan solutions to the border crisis because that would put an end to your cruel political game, but I am writing to you today hoping to appeal to your humanity.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, D-Illinois

“So when we started learning about these buses dropping in our surrounding counties, counties like Kankakee county, for example, I spoke with Sheriff Downey, who told me that he learned that several buses had dropped in his county at 4:30 in the morning, basically kicked the people off the bus and said, ‘Welcome to Chicago’ and left,” said Ken Briley, Grundy County sheriff.

Wynn Transportation, a Texas-based bus company, is suing the city of Chicago in federal court over the new ordinance, claiming that it is unconstitutional for interfering with interstate commerce and punishing companies for working with the state of Texas. The lawsuit also alleges the ordinance discriminates against the migrants on the buses.

The city told multiple local outlets that it does not comment on ongoing litigation.

Meanwhile, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, D, wrote a scathing letter to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, R, imploring him to stop sending migrants to Chicago, at least while the city experiences dangerously cold weather.

“You seem to have no interest in working on bipartisan solutions to the border crisis because that would put an end to your cruel political game, but I am writing to you today hoping to appeal to your humanity,” Pritzker wrote.

While Pritzker acknowledged the federal government does need to make meaningful steps in reforming border policy, he concluded there needs to be action “for mercy for the thousands of people who are powerless to speak for themselves.”

In a Jan. 12, 2024, press release, Abbott detailed sending more than 100,000 migrants to cities nationwide, including 30,800 to Chicago since August 2022.

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[LAUREN TAYLOR]

FIGHTING BETWEEN STATE AND CITY LEADERS IS LEAVING MIGRANTS OUT IN THE COLD.. BOTH FIGURATIVELY AND LITERALLY.

THE LATEST ROUND IN THIS BOUT — A TEXAS BUS COMPANY IS SUING THE CITY OF CHICAGO FOR DISCRIMINATION.

WITH THE NEAR CONSTANT BUSING OF TENS-OF-THOUSANDS OF MIGRANTS FROM TEXAS TO CITIES LIKE NEW YORK, AND CHICAGO, FINDING WARM SHELTER SPACE IS NEXT TO IMPOSSIBLE, WITH CHICAGO USING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION BUSES AS MAKESHIFT WARMING CENTERS FOR MIGRANTS.

 MANY OF WHOM OFFICIALS SAY WERE DROPPED OFF WITH NO WINTER CLOTHING.

Angelo Travieso, migrant: “I slept sitting because there is almost no space left. The buses are also small and you practically have to stay inside because of the heating, because it is deadly cold outside.”

[LAUREN TAYLOR]

THE VOLUME OF MIGRANTS BEING DROPPED OFF LED CHICAGO TO IMPLEMENT RULES RESTRICTING WHERE AND WHEN BUSES COULD DROP OFF MIGRANTS  – VIOLATORS RISK HAVING BUSES IMPOUNDED AND FINES OF UP TO 3-THOUSAND DOLLARS.

THE RULE RIPPLED ACROSS THE WINDY CITY – WITH SUBURBS AND COUNTIES AROUND CHICAGO IMPLEMENTING SIMILAR REQUIREMENTS, EVEN PUTTING UP SIGNS WARNING BUSES CARRYING MIGRANTS TO KEEP DRIVING.

KEN BRILEY, GRUNDY COUNTY SHERIFF: “So when we started learning about these buses dropping in our surrounding counties, counties like Kankakee County, for example, I spoke with Sheriff Downey, who told me that he learned that several buses had dropped in his county at 4:30 in the morning, basically kicked the people off the bus and said, ‘welcome to Chicago’ and left.”

[LAUREN TAYLOR]

NOW – WYNN TRANSPORTATION – A TEXAS BASED BUS COMPANY IS SUING CHICAGO IN FEDERAL COURT OVER THE NEW ORDINANCE – CLAIMING THAT IT IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL FOR INTERFERING WITH INTERSTATE COMMERCE, AND PUNISHING COMPANIES FOR WORKING WITH THE STATE OF TEXAS.

THE LAWSUIT ALSO ALLEGES THE ORDINANCE IS DISCRIMINATORY TOWARD THE MIGRANTS ON THE BUSES.

THE CITY TOLD MULTIPLE LOCAL OUTLETS THAT IT DOES NOT COMMENT ON ONGOING LITIGATION.

MEANWHILE, ILLINOIS GOVERNOR J.B. PRITZKER WROTE A SCATHING LETTER TO TEXAS GOVERNOR GREG ABBOTT, IMPLORING HIM TO STOP SENDING MIGRANTS TO CHICAGO, AT LEAST WHILE THE CITY EXPERIENCES DANGEROUSLY COLD WEATHER.

THE LETTER READING IN PART 

“You seem to have no interest in working on bipartisan solutions to the border crisis because that would put an end to your cruel political game, but I am writing to you today hoping to appeal to your humanity.”

WHILE GOVERNOR PRITZKER ACKNOWLEDGED THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DOES NEED TO MAKE MEANINGFUL STEPS TO REFORMING BORDER POLICY – HE CONCLUDED SAYING:

“FOR MERCY FOR THE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE POWERLESS TO SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES.”

LAST WEEK IN A PRESS RELEASE GOVERNOR ABBOTT BOASTED ABOUT SENDING MORE THAN 100,000 MIGRANTS TO SO-CALLED SANCTUARY CITIES NATIONWIDE, INCLUDING 30,000 TO CHICAGO SINCE AUGUST OF 2022.

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