New York, Chicago mayors urge Polis to stop bussing migrants to their cities

New York, Chicago mayors urge Polis to stop bussing migrants to their cities

DENVER – The mayors of New York City and Chicago are asking Colorado Gov. Jared Polis to stop the practice of busing immigrants to their cities.

In a letter to Gov. Polis on Saturday, Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and New York City Mayor Eric Adams wrote: “We respectfully ask that you cease and desist sending immigrants to New York City and Chicago.”

Lightfoot and Adams, whose cities have already seen an influx of more than 30,000 migrants from the Texas border, wrote: “It is clear that the influx of asylum seekers has provoked concern among states. Although we share the concerns of accommodating the influx of asylum seekers, overcrowding other cities is not the answer.”

More than 3,600 immigrants, many from Venezuela, have arrived in Colorado. The city of Denver has struggled to accommodate immigrants since the first bus arrived in early December.

“Our sense is that Colorado claims to be a welcoming state. At least as far as we’re concerned, whether it’s a welcoming state or a welcoming city, leaders need to make sure those values ​​are lived out in good times and especially in challenging times. that we have done, and we urge you as governor of Colorado to do the same. We know it is difficult because we have faced these challenges for the past nine months. Colorado needs to reconsider its decision to send people, to who are housed and receive services from Denver-based community organizations, out of state, and especially for cities like ours,” the mayor wrote in the letter.

On Tuesday, Governor Polis announced that the state will begin busing immigrants from Denver to New York and Chicago, destinations the state said the immigrants had chosen. In a statement, Polis says the state is simply helping migrants complete their journeys.

“However, you are sending migrants and families to New York City and Chicago who have no connections, family members or community networks to welcome them, and at a time when both cities are at maximum capacity in the space of housing and services available.” Lightfoot and Adams wrote in the paper.

Before the first buses left Colorado on Wednesday morning, the cities told state officials directly that they did not have room to accommodate the hundreds of immigrants who have already arrived in Chicago and New York City from Colorado, according to a press release from the Office of the Chicago Mayor’s Press.

The NYC mayor had spoken out against the plan on Tuesday.

“We have been notified [Monday] that the governor of Colorado is now declaring that they will send immigrants to places like New York and Chicago. It is simply unfair that local governments should take on this national obligation,” Mayor Adams said in a statement Tuesday.

In the letter, the mayors urged Polis that instead of busing migrants into their cities, his administration should work with them to advocate for the federal government to find a national solution, which the governor has said should be done. .

“I think it’s important that we have a coordinated national approach to this, and I really hope that the Biden administration will step up, show some leadership in this area,” he said at a press conference on Tuesday.

In a press release, the governor’s office said Polis had a “very productive conversation” with the two mayors after he received the letter Saturday. The governor’s office said the state is scaling back the immigrant bus program because “statewide travel has returned to the status quo.”

Polis told Lightfoot and Adams that the last bus from Denver to New York City will end on Sunday. According to the announcement, there are no more buses going to Chicago.

Polis again on Saturday called on the federal government to take action on the matter.

“People fleeing violence and oppression in search of a better life for themselves and their families deserve our respect, not political games, and we are grateful to have been able to help migrants reach their final destination. We refuse to hold people against their will if they wish to travel elsewhere. While the federal government and Congress have unfortunately failed the American people on immigration reform and border security, Colorado continues to provide culturally competent and humane support to help migrants escape oppression,” Polis said in a statement. on Saturday.

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