Jan 8, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Colorado to stop busing migrants to NYC and Chicago after pushback from mayors

Migrants arriving from Del Rio, Texas, get off a bus at Port Authority in Manhattan

Migrants arriving from Del Rio, Texas, get off a bus at Port Authority in Manhattan on Dec. 19, 2022. Photo: Josephine Stratman/New York Daily News/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Colorado will stop sending buses of migrants to New York City and Chicago, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis' office announced Saturday, after the mayors of the two cities criticized the continued arrival of migrants.

Driving the news: In an open letter to Polis, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot wrote that although they "share the concerns of accommodating the flood of asylum seekers, overburdening other cities is not the solution."

  • "Before the first bus arrived in either of our cities, we informed a Colorado official directly that neither city had any additional room to accommodate any more migrants because of the thousands of migrants that had already been inhumanely bused to our respective cities from Texas since spring of 2022."

State of play: In a statement last Tuesday, Polis said that his administration was helping migrants reach their intended destinations because 70% didn't plan to stay in Colorado.

  • Adams and Lightfoot said their cities were working "tirelessly" to help migrants reach their final destinations where they can be reunited with loved ones.
  • "However, you are sending migrants and families to New York City and Chicago that do not have any ties, family members or community networks to welcome them, and at a time where both cities are at maximum capacity in shelter space and available services," they added.
  • Since the end of August, Chicago has welcomed 3,854 migrants from other states while New York City has welcomed roughly 36,400 over the last nine months, as of Jan. 4, the letter stated.
  • "Let us work together to advocate to the federal government for a national solution that responds to this need," Adams and Lightfoot added.

Polis had a "very productive conversation" with Adams and Lightfoot on Saturday in which he shared that no more buses are scheduled to bring migrants to Chicago from Denver after the last chartered bus to New York City will be completed Sunday, per the press release from Polis' office.

  • "Now that nationwide travel has returned to the status quo because the holidays and the impact of weather have normalized transportation pathways,  Colorado has been in the process of scaling back this transportation," the statement added.

What they're saying: “People fleeing violence and oppression in search of a better life for themselves and their families deserve our respect not political games," Polis said in the statement.

  • "We refuse to keep people against their will if they desire to travel elsewhere," Polis added. 
  • "While the federal government and Congress, unfortunately, have failed the American people on immigration reform and border security, Colorado continues to assure culturally competent and humane support to help assist migrants escaping oppression." 

Go deeper: Colorado is busing migrants to New York and other major cities

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