The Chicago skyline
The city has allocated additional funds to aid migrants AFP

Texas authorities sent for the first time a flight with asylum seekers to Chicago on Tuesday night, expanding the scope of its Lone Star operation to take migrants to other parts of the country, mostly to Democrat-run sanctuary cities.

The decision comes on the heels of a measure by Chicago authorities aimed at cracking down on "rogue" buses heading to the city.

The law, which went into effect last week, allows city officials to impound buses that either have not been coordinated two days in advance or not arrive in the official landing zone.

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson told the Chicago Tribune last week that "bus companies, contracted by the State of Texas, flagrantly violate all safety measures."

Abbott, on his end, said that "sanctuary city Chicago started obstructing and targeting our busing mission" and that, as a result, "Texas will now expand our operation to include flights to Chicago."

"Until Biden steps up to secure the border, we will continue to provide overwhelmed Texas border towns with much-needed relief," the publication added.

It is not the first time migrants reach Chicago by plane, but they had never been sent by state authorities. A Chicago migrant dashboard shows 4,252 migrants have arrived by plane, but according to Axios "it has usually been organizations like Catholic Charities of Houston sending them on commercial flights."

Overall, more than 30,000 migrants have been taken to Chicago since August 2022. The city is struggling to provide shelter to all and faced a new setback last week after receiving an environmental report on a proposed shelter location.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker ordered construction be halted on what would have been a migrant shelter able to house over 2,000 people. The shelter was being erected in the Brighton Park neighborhood, but the plan was suspended due to high levels of arsenic, lead and mercury on the proposed site.

In response to halting construction on the Brighton Park shelter, the state will provide funding to turn an abandoned CVS store in the Little Village neighborhood into a migrant shelter. Little Village is one of the largest Hispanic communities in Chicago, with 80% of the population identifying as Hispanic. Still, community members are not welcoming of migrants.

To date, Chicago has housed many migrants arriving in the city in 26 temporary shelters across the city. But as temperatures continue to drop in the windy city, city officials are working to find better-suited housing for migrants and their families.

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson has also been under pressure from other city hall members who oppose his aid plans for migrants, and last month, a select few banded together to bring a resolution to next year's election that would have residents vote on whether to remain a sanctuary city and continue to take in migrants.

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