Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson’s deputy chief of staff, Cristina Pacione-Zayas, told The Chicago Tribune that bus companies are now no longer communicating about where they are dropping migrants in an effort to avoid city penalties.
In an effort to show the seriousness of the border crisis, some Republican governors have sent buses of asylum seekers to Democrat-controlled states and sanctuary cities. These Republicans argue the action is necessary to show the rest of the country what border states are dealing with due to the surge of migrants.
In response, the city of Chicago filed over 50 lawsuits in an attempt to hold bus companies accountable for shuttling illegal immigrants to an already overburdened city amid winter conditions.
However, bus companies appear to have responded by continuing to transport migrants, but no longer communicating or using established dropoff spots.
"Migrants are no longer being dropped off at the city’s landing zone on buses from the southern border, causing people to wander with no direction looking for shelter, according to an aide to Mayor Johnson," The Chicago Tribune reported.
Pacione-Zayas said the lack of communication directly correlates with the city’s new penalties for bus owners whose vehicles violate Chicago’s new bus rules.
Buses reportedly face "seizure and impoundment" for unloading migrant passengers outside of designated hours and locations and/or without a permit to do so. Violators can face $3,000 fines in addition to towing and storage fees.
"She suspects bus companies are finding other ways to get migrants into the city. As of Saturday, more than 25,900 migrants had arrived in Chicago since August 2022, according to city records," the news outlet reported.
"Obviously, they’re trying every way to work around this," Pacione-Zayas said. "Since we’ve instituted the ordinance and the amendment, we have lost all communication with the border. They’re not sending us any notices."
Pacione-Zayas said that, recently, migrants are being found in various spots around the city, and that they themselves report having been given train tickets by their bus drivers to get to Chicago.
"Bus companies are facilitating their transfer into the city," she said. "It sends us scurrying."
She added, "Folks are just kind of being dropped off at different points. They’re wandering to police stations. Or they’re wandering to shelters."
Pacione-Zayas lamented the new lack of communication with those transporting and sending the migrants to Chicago.
"When they come without notice and coordination, it starts to undermine what we’re trying to do," she said.