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Chicago mayor says Texas governor causing "chaos" with migrant transport

Chicago mayor: Abbott creating "chaos"
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson says Texas governor creating "chaos" with migrant transport 10:39

Washington — Two Democratic mayors said there's a lack of coordination over the transportation of migrants to their cities and others by the Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, which has led to disorder in managing the arrivals. 

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson said in an interview with "Face the Nation" on Sunday that Abbott, a Republican, is "determined to continue to sow seeds of chaos" by sending busloads of migrants to the city "without any coordination." 

"Now he's taken on this very dangerous task of placing individuals on airplanes and flying them into our various cities. This is certainly a matter of not just of our national security, but it's the type of chaos that this governor is committed to administering," Johnson said. 

"That type of chaos is, it's certainly divided in our country, and we need better coordination between all levels of government to be able to respond to this mission," he added. 

Denver Mayor Mike Johnston told "Face the Nation" that his city does not want migrants to arrive in the middle of the night when staff is not available to receive them and migrants are left outside in the freezing cold with no support. 

"We want buses here to do what every other bus does, which is land at a bus station and a bus stop at hours when we can have staff there to receive them and to direct them towards services," Johnston said Sunday. "We understand the flow is coming. We just want it to be coordinated and in a humanitarian way, which we think makes it effective for the city and for those newcomers. So that means things like arriving 8 to 5 Monday to Friday with notice." 

Both called for more federal support as the influx stresses city resources. Johnson and Johnston joined the mayors of New York, Los Angeles and Houston in November in writing a letter to the White House to ask for more financial support, increased work authorization for migrants, and prioritize a coordinated entry response to ensure new arrivals make it to their final destination. 

"What we have is clearly an international and federal crisis that local governments are being asked to subsidize and this is unsustainable. None of our local economies are positioned to be able to carry on such a mission," the Chicago mayor said. 

Denver's mayor said migrants from Venezuela who arrived in recent months are not eligible for temporary protected status and do not have a quick path to be authorized to work in the U.S. He said the migrants want to work and there are employers with open jobs who want to hire them. 

"But we have folks that right now are currently without a path to work authorization. We'd love to see that path to work authorization expand for more recent arrivals," Johnston said. 

As state and local leaders ask for federal help in managing the record number of migrants, Congress has been debating border policy changes for weeks as part of a larger package including aid for Ukraine and Israel but has so far been unable to reach a consensus. Democrats are considering drastic limits on asylum and increased deportations in exchange for Republicans supporting more aid for Ukraine

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Abbott is "a desperate man trying to protect his state." 

"Our system is broken," Graham told "Face the Nation" on Sunday. "You're going to have mayors talking about more money to help relocate migrants. We're not going to have a remain in Texas policy." 

Graham said Republicans want the Biden administration to implement a Title 42-like policy. The policy allowed the U.S. to quickly expel unauthorized migrants at the southern border during the coronavirus pandemic. 

"Here's what I would tell the Biden administration," Graham said. "Accept the idea that we're full. Take the tools we're willing to give you to stop the inflow, start deporting people here who should be deported. … Accept the tools that would change things and we'll get money for Ukraine." 

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