Wind chills have remained below zero for several days in Chicago, but that has done little to stop the flow of migrants into the city.
The situation in Chicago prompted Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker to publish an advertisement in the Austin American-Statesman urging Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to stop transferring migrants to his state.
"I plead with you for mercy for the thousands of people who are powerless to speak for themselves," Pritzker said. "Please, while winter is threatening vulnerable people’s lives, suspend your transports and do not send more people to our state. We are asking you to help prevent additional deaths."
Chicago has been one of the top destinations for Texas' Operation Lone Star, which was launched in a retaliatory effort against Democratic-led cities for pro-migrant policies. The program has also sent migrants to New York City, Denver, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.
As of late last week, more than 30,000 migrants had been transferred from Texas to Chicago. Migrants being moved to Chicago were not subject to immediate deportation as many of them seek asylum in hopes of staying in the U.S. permanently.
"Let's remind everybody that it is the choice, the inhumane choice of the governor of Texas and his colleagues in Texas to send thousands of people across the nation and specifically to Chicago, many of them with sandals on their feet, with no coat when they arrive, who haven't been given a meal in quite some time, and they arrive here in need," Pritzker said. "Now, nobody thinks this is a good idea, especially in December, January and February in Chicago, to take them out of an environment in which the weather is much warmer and put them in a freezing cold environment."
The city has been utilizing warming buses to keep migrants warm during the cold spell. As of Friday, more than 400 migrants were awaiting placement in shelters, City of Chicago data indicates.
Abbott has continued to make immigration a top issue as the state faces a lawsuit from the federal government for installing a buoy in the Rio Grande between the U.S. and Mexico border.
Abbott has defended the actions, claiming that his state is working to stop the smuggling of drugs, weapons and people into Texas.
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