McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — A delegation from the City of Chicago including several aldermen are touring the Texas border this week to learn more about how and where immigrants are crossing from Mexico into the United States before boarding buses to the Windy City.
The delegation is scheduled to be in McAllen, in South Texas, on Thursday. They are to visit the Humanitarian Respite Center migrant shelter, which is operated by Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, Executive Director Sister Norma Pimentel told Border Report on Wednesday.
On Friday morning, they are scheduled to visit the Welcome Center in downtown Brownsville and meet with volunteers from the nonprofit Team Brownsville and others who help migrants at the facility, volunteer Andrea Rudnik told Border Report. The facility offers food and toiletries and helps migrants with travel plans.
On Tuesday, the delegation visited El Paso in West Texas and met with El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser.
“Mayor Leeser and members of the city team were pleased to host a delegation from Illinois visiting El Paso,” Estrella Escobar, Leeser’s senior chief of staff, said in a statement.
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson originally had planned to go on the border tour, but canceled and sent a team instead. He told local media he was needed to monitor the situation in Chicago, where thousands of migrants who have crossed into Texas have been sent on buses supplied by Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star border initiative.
Escobar said Johnson and Leeser have spoken about the situation, which media report is getting dire as cold weather soon is expected in Chicago and the city is running out of space to house the migrants.
“We will continue conversations with Mayor Johnson and his team to ensure a coordinated and collaborative response among our cities to the humanitarian crisis we are facing,” Escobar said.
Chicago Alderman Rev. William Hall, who represents Ward 6, is among those traveling the Texas border this week.
He posted on Instagram about Tuesday’s meeting at City Hall in El Paso and said the trip was “to find out the facts at the border.”
“This is a federal disaster,” Hall said on Instagram.
He also mentioned federal funds sent to El Paso to help with the migrant influx and said “but what about Chicago?”
Traveling with Hall are Alderman Raymond Lopez, of Ward 15; Alderperson Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez, of Ward 33; and Alderman Lamont Robinson, of Ward 4.
Chicago has 50 wards and each is represented by an alderperson.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at SSanchez@BorderReport.com.