(The Center Square) – From the small towns of Woodstock, Illinois, and Secaucus, New Jersey, to the metropolises of Denver, New York and Chicago, municipalities are starting to take action against the infusion of migrants from Texas, Arizona and elsewhere.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s 16-month policy of exporting the border crisis to sanctuary cities by busing migrants out of Texas has exasperated big city leaders and sounded alarms in nearby towns.
Denver Mayor Mike Johnston told the City Council members this week that the infusion of migrants being bused from Texas to their city would cost $180 million in 2024 and is not sustainable.
In nearby Aurora, about 15 miles east of Denver, City Council Member Danielle Jurinsky said that the Denver mayor was renting hotel rooms in Aurora and putting up migrants without the approval of the Denver City Council. Jurinsky stated at the Dec. 4 city council meeting that Aurora residents at extended-stay hotels were put out on the street because the migrants were taking all the available hotel rooms.
According to a video of the meeting, Jurinsky said “this is Denver Mayor Mike Johnston busing migrants into the city of Aurora, taking up our hotels, and throwing out American citizens, Aurora residents onto the streets.”
New York City filed a lawsuit Jan. 4 against the 17 charter bus and transportation companies from Texas that are bringing migrants to the city, asking for $708 million to offset the city’s costs.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams issued an executive order that required buses carrying migrants to provide 32 hours notice before dropping off people at a designated location in Manhattan only during specified hours. The drop off times are limited to the hours of 8:30 a.m. and noon. Violators are subject to fines and the impounding of their bus.
Secaucus, New Jersey, is about nine miles northwest of New York City.
That city reported on Jan. 3 that a total of 23 buses carrying 1,107 migrants arrived at New Jersey train stations. In what officials believe is an effort to get around the New York City restrictions, the buses dropped off the migrants at the train stations and the migrants than took trains into the Big Apple.
“It seems quite clear the bus operators are finding a way to thwart the requirements of the Executive Order by dropping migrants at the train station in Secaucus and having them continue to their final destination”, Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli said in a statement. “Perhaps the requirements Mayor Adams put in place are too stringent and are resulting in unexpected consequences as it seems the bus operators have figured out a loophole in the system in order to ensure the migrants reach their final destination, which is New York City.”
Gonnelli hinted that New Jersey may also take action in response to migrants being bused to his state.
“In a recent call with State officials, they stressed that plans are in place in the event migrants decide to remain in the State,” Gonnelli said in a statement. “I made it very clear to those on the call that the Town of Secaucus would not be in a position to shoulder the burden of this situation and stressed the importance of open communication and cooperation with our County and State partners.”
Gonnelli added: “I plan to do everything I can to be prepared to do what is best for our community.”
In Chicago, the city reported it impounded and towed a bus on Dec. 13 that was transporting 49 passengers coming from Eagle Pass, Texas, for attempting to drop off individuals without a permit. The City Council has passed a “bus safety ordinance” that same day that empowered it to impound any bus that didn’t follow what the city called “safety protocols.”
But nearby Chicago communities are discovering they are also being affected by the arrival of migrants.
Woodstock, Illinois, is about 67 miles northwest of Chicago with a population of 25,600 and a police force of less than 45 employees.
On Jan. 2, the Woodstock City Council called a special meeting to pass an ordinance that requires buses carrying migrants to file for application that must be filed five days prior to arrival. It requires the transportation company give a “detailed plan” identifying how the migrants will be cared for including housing and food and a list of each person with contact information who will be responsible for the care of the migrants. A city official can deny the application if “a satisfactory plan has not been presented related to the ability of the applicant to care for, house and feed such individuals.”
The city of Joliet, Illinois, passed a similar ordinance on Jan. 2. Other suburban cities have also followed suit.
Abbott has not backed down.
On Dec. 20, Abbott’s press secretary Andrew Mahaleris announced on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter, how the state would respond to Chicago’s crackdown on buses.
“Because Mayor Johnson is failing to live up to his city’s ‘Welcoming City’ ordinance by targeting migrant buses from Texas, we are expanding our operation to include flights to Chicago,” Mahaleris stated. “Texas’ first flight departed El Paso yesterday with over 120 passengers.”
“Sanctuary cities like NYC & Chicago have seen only a FRACTION of what overwhelmed Texas border towns face daily,” Abbott posted Jan. 2 on social media. “We will continue our transportation mission until [President Joe] Biden reverses course on his open border policies.”