Everybody's paying to bus migrants to Chicago. Even Catholic Charities!
That's special, Catholic Charities of San Antonio has funded bus trips to send unwanted migrants to Chicago. I am at a loss for words...bet you thought that would never happen.
Tracking migrant buses, a year later
More than 13,000 migrants have arrived in Chicago since last August, when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott first started busing migrants to the city.
Yes, but: Abbott claims responsibility for only a third of that number. Thousands of other new arrivals appear to be funded by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Texas and in the city of Denver.
That's despite a January promise from Colorado Gov. Jared Polis that his state would stop sending buses.
Why it matters: More buses are arriving almost daily, pushing city services into crisis, while leaving migrants with little support.
What they're saying: "This is an ever-growing humanitarian crisis that Chicago has not experienced before," Chicago Office of Emergency Management spokesperson Mary May tells Axios.
"It poses significant infrastructure challenges to an already overwhelmed shelter system, Chicago police districts, our city agencies, mutual aid partners, volunteers, and community residents."
Zoom in: City officials told Axios that in July an average of one to two buses a day, carrying 40-50 migrants, arrived in Chicago with "little notice."
By the numbers: Roughly 6,400 migrants are living in local shelters, and about 1,060 are sleeping at police stations and O'Hare airport, according to city officials.
The latest: The Tribune reported this month that the Denver Department of Human Services has paid for about 2,100 bus and train tickets to Chicago since December.
Tribune staffers traveled in June from El Paso, Texas, to Denver with a migrant family. The day they arrived, the city bought the family five Amtrak tickets to Chicago, according to the Tribune.
Context: A Denver spokesperson told 9News in May that the city buys bus tickets for migrants who want to leave, and that migrants choose the destination. Most have headed to Chicago and New York, but the Denver official couldn't say why those cities are preferred destinations.
For this article, Denver officials did not respond to Axios' request for comment.
Separately, Chicago officials have tracked thousands of arrivals from Texas cities that they don't believe are connected to Abbott's busing operation.
City officials believe the travel, including 69 buses from El Paso and "high numbers of people" each week from San Antonio, is being funded by Texas NGOs.
Axios has confirmed that Catholic Charities in San Antonio, Texas, has funded migrant travel to Chicago, although officials there would not say how many tickets they have purchased.
Catholic Charities in Chicago says it also assists migrants who need help traveling to sponsors in another town.