CHICAGO—Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker declared an emergency and called up 75 members of the Illinois National Guard to marshal resources to cope with an influx of asylum seekers bused to Chicago and other cities by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
About 500 migrants have arrived in Chicago since the first busload pulled into a downtown bus station on Aug. 31, and more continue to arrive without any advance notice from Texas, officials said.
“The state of Illinois is doing everything in its power to support local jurisdictions to help ensure that the right tools and supports are in place as we move forward with this humanitarian response,” Mr. Pritzker said at a news conference.
His proclamation will help the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and other state agencies coordinate with the city of Chicago, Cook County, and other local governments, to provide services to the migrants, officials said. Services include transportation, emergency shelter and housing, food and medical attention.
Mr. Pritzker criticized Mr. Abbott’s effort to ship migrants to New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago, all Democratic-run cities that have declared themselves open to migrants, calling it “a stunt playing games with people’s lives.”
Mr. Abbott took to Twitter to defend his policies earlier on Wednesday.
“Sanctuary city mayors complain they are overwhelmed by a few dozen migrants arriving on buses from Texas,” he said. “It’s a fraction of what Texas faces on a daily basis. We will continue bussing migrants until Biden secures the border.”
Illinois officials said they have asked Texas to send the migrants directly to centers set up to help the asylum seekers, but the buses instead are sent to a downtown bus station and sometimes arrive in the middle of the night, forcing officials to scramble each time a new bus arrives. They also are asking for federal help to manage the arrivals.