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Pritzker begs Abbott to stop sending migrants to Chicago

Pritzker begs Abbott to stop sending migrants to Chicago
Pritzker begs Abbott to stop sending migrants to Chicago 00:35

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago city officials say they were not expecting any buses to arrive Sunday and that all migrants were housed in some type of shelter. 

The city also provided an update, saying it has received more than 33,000 asylum seekers in total. 

Of those, 317 are awaiting placement, with 249 of them at O'Hare International Airport. Sixty-eight were staying at the Harold Washington Library Emergency Warming Shelter Sunday night. 

With the bitter-cold Chicago area weather in mind, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, a Democrat, took out a full-page ad in the Austin American-Statesman newspaper, publishing a letter he sent to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican.

The letter urges Abbott to stop sending migrants to Chicago. 

"The next few days are a threat to the families and children you are sending here. I am pleading with you to at least pause these transports in order to save lives," Pritzker wrote to his Texas counterpart. "I plead with you for mercy for the thousands of people who are powerless to speak for themselves. Please, while winter is threatening vulnerable people's lives, suspend your transports and do not send more people to our state."

Pritzker said continuing to send buses and planes of migrants to Chicago amid heavy snow, with bitter cold on its way, could cost lives.

"You are now sending asylum seekers from Texas to the Upper Midwest in the middle of winter — many without coats, without shoes to protect them from the snow — to a city whose shelters are already overfilled with migrants you sent here. Chicago's temperatures this weekend are forecast to drop below zero. Your callousness, sending buses and planes full of migrants in this weather, is now life-threatening to every one of the arrivals. Hundreds of children's and families' health and survival are at risk due to your actions," Pritzker wrote.

Abbott's office was having none of it, the American-Statesman reported. Abbott spokesperson Andrew Mahaleris told the newspaper, "Governor Pritzker was all too proud to call Illinois 'the most welcoming state in the nation' until Governor Abbott began transporting migrants to Chicago. Instead of complaining about migrants sent from Texas, where we are also preparing to experience severe winter weather across the state, Governor Pritzker should call on his party leader to finally do his job and secure the border — something he continues refusing to do.

"Until President Biden steps up and does his job to secure the border, Texas will continue transporting migrants to sanctuary cities to help our local partners respond to this Biden-made crisis."

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