Colorado Gov. Jared Polis will halt plans to bus migrants to New York City and Chicago, citing productive conversations with mayors in both cities.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot had complained about the program. They said many of the migrants had no ties to their cities and city agencies had no capacity to care for them.
Mr. Polis, a fellow Democrat, defended his work to help migrants get where they wanted to go but said there would be no more buses to Chicago and he wouldn’t send more charters to New York after the last one arrived over the weekend.
The governor had been assisting Denver in relocating migrants who ended up in there after crossing the southern border.
“People fleeing violence and oppression in search of a better life for themselves and their families deserve our respect not political games and we are grateful we have been able to assist migrants to reach their final destination,” Mr. Polis said of the program. “We refuse to keep people against their will if they desire to travel elsewhere.”
But the effort sparked a rebuke from Ms. Lightfoot and Mr. Adams. They said Mr. Polis was, in a sense, mimicking the actions of Republican governors of border states who bused migrants to their doorstep.
“Continuing to bus asylum seekers to Chicago and New York City would only exacerbate the challenges the two cities currently face and would also further victimize these mostly vulnerable individuals,” the Democratic mayors said in the joint letter.
Mr. Polis said he will continue to work with Denver nonprofits to relocate migrants but the return to “normalized,” post-holiday transportation flows meant that deliberate busing to other cities is no longer necessary.
Mr. Polis, Ms. Lightfoot and Mr. Adams are redirecting their focus to the federal government, including Congress and the Biden administration.
Mr. Polis said he would like to see immigration reform, better border security and work permits for migrants who want to contribute to the state economy.