CHICAGO — The mayors of Chicago, New York City and Denver renewed pleas Wednesday for more federal help and coordination with Texas over the growing number of asylum-seekers arriving in their cities by bus and plane.
The mayors’ requests come as U.S. cities have struggled to manage the increasing number of migrants sent from Texas and other states. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s busing operation has transported more than 80,000 migrants to Democratic-led cities since last year. His administration recently stepped up the practice with chartered planes.
The mayors sharply criticized Abbott and the effort, saying buses arrive at all hours and outside designated drop-off zones with no details on who is aboard.
“We cannot allow buses with people needing our help to arrive without warning at any hour of day and night,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said at a virtual news conference with the other mayors. “This not only prevents us from providing assistance in an orderly way, it puts those who have already suffered in so much in danger.”
Chicago has cracked down on so-called “rogue” buses, with lawsuits, fines and tickets. In recent weeks, buses have tried to avoid penalties by making unscheduled drop-offs in the suburbs, forcing local officials and authorities to step in. Recently, one bus unloaded migrants overnight at a gas station in Kankakee, roughly 70 miles (110 kilometers) from Chicago.
“The lack of care that has been on display for the last year and a half has created an incredible amount of chaos,” said Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson. More than 26,000 migrants have arrived in the city since last year.
Adams said New York City would put similar rules in place as Chicago and announced an executive order Wednesday requesting buses arrive only between 8:30 a.m. and noon on weekdays at a single drop-off site, or face fines, lawsuits or buses being impounded. Denver has similar rules on weekday drop-offs during specified hours.
In New York, more than 161,000 migrants have arrived and sought city aid since spring 2022, including 4,000 just last week, Adams and other officials said earlier in the week.
The Democratic mayors met last month with President Joe Biden, which followed a letter requesting more help. They want more federal funds, efforts to expand work authorization, and a schedule for when buses arrive.
Cities have already spent hundreds of millions of dollars to house, transport and provide medical care for migrants.
“It will crush city budgets around the country,” said Denver Mayor Mike Johnston. The city has received more than 35,000 migrants over the last year.
New York City has offered migrants one-way tickets out of town and traveled to Latin America to discourage people from coming to the city. Members of Johnson’s administration also went to border cities earlier this year in an attempt to open lines of communication.
Abbott’s office didn’t immediately return an email message left Wednesday. A spokesman has previously said Abbott’s administration will continue “taking historic action” until Biden’s administration secures the border.
Associated Press reporters Jennifer Peltz in New York and Paul Weber in Austin, Texas, contributed to this report.