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Updated December 22nd, 2023 at 14:03 IST

Texas flies asylum seekers to Chicago in surprise escalation of border politics

The move comes in response to Chicago's recent crackdown on "rogue" bus operators transporting migrants to the city.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott
Texas Governor Greg Abbott | Image:AP
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In a dramatic move, Texas Governor Greg Abbott surprised Chicago this week by chartering a plane to fly over 100 asylum seekers directly to the city's O'Hare Airport. This marks a significant escalation in his ongoing protest against President Biden's immigration policies, which has already seen thousands of migrants bused from Texas to Democrat-led cities over the past year.

The move comes in response to Chicago's recent crackdown on "rogue" bus operators transporting migrants to the city without following local regulations. "Because Mayor Johnson is failing to live up to his city's 'Welcoming City' ordinance by targeting migrant buses from Texas," an Abbott spokesperson told Axios, "we are expanding our operation to include flights to Chicago."

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Chicago it attempting to accommodate the migrants in city's shelter system

This unexpected arrival, confirmed by both Chicago officials and the Texas Governor's office, left the Windy City scrambling to find shelter for the newly arrived asylum seekers. A city spokesperson stated that authorities were alerted to the group's landing at O'Hare around 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday and are currently working to accommodate them in the city's shelter system.

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Adding to the confusion, reports emerged that two individuals associated with the flight fled the scene upon arrival, leaving questions about their role and potential intentions.

Migrants, a mere pawn in political games?

Governor Abbott's unprecedented use of chartered flights represents a sharp turn in his strategy of sending migrants by bus. It also raises concerns about the potential disruption and strain this tactic might place on cities like Chicago, already grappling with the challenge of welcoming and supporting large numbers of asylum seekers.

While the political motivations behind this move are clear, the human impact of Governor Abbott's actions remains front and center. The asylum seekers, fleeing violence and hardship in their home countries, find themselves pawns in a complex political game, facing uncertainty and displacement even after reaching American soil.

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With record numbers of families crossing the U.S.-Mexico border and President Biden under pressure to address the complex issue of immigration, it remains to be seen how this latest development will further shape the national conversation and the fate of those seeking refuge in the United States.

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Published December 22nd, 2023 at 14:03 IST

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