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Texas bus company sues Chicago over migrant drop-offs

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A Texas bus company has launched a lawsuit against the city of Chicago, saying an ordinance that requires them to stop dropping off migrants violates the U.S. Constitution and the Illinois Constitution.

Wynne Transportation LLC is requesting declaratory judgment and injunctive relief from the city, according to lawsuit documents filed on Jan. 5.

The lawsuit is in response to the December ordinance, which warns that buses face “seizure and impoundment” for unloading migrant passengers outside designated hours and locations and/or without a permit to do so.

Migrants disembarking a bus in Chicago

A Texas bus company is suing Chicago for placing restrictions on bus companies that drop off migrants in the city, saying it violates the U.S. Constitution and the Illinois Constitution. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images/File)

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Violators can face $3,000 fines in addition to towing and storage fees. Wynne Transportation already had one bus impounded by the city, according to NBC.

Bus companies must also provide advance notice and receive approval from the city before dropping off migrants at the city’s designated landing zones, according to the ordinance. The city says companies are now no longer communicating about where they are dropping off migrants to avoid city penalties.

The ordinance was put in place to stem the flow of migrants being bussed from Texas, despite the city being a sanctuary city. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has bussed nearly 30,000 migrants to Chicago since the summer of 2022, according to a Friday press release. 

The transportation company says the ordinance restricts migrants from entering Chicago by “placing stringent requirements and harsh punishments.” 

“Rather than welcoming migrants and giving them sanctuary, Chicago is turning its back on those wishing to travel here by enacting an ordinance that targets the transportation companies that transport migrants from our southern border to their desired destination – Chicago – in violation of Plaintiff’s constitutional rights,” the lawsuit reads. 

Migrants in Texas

Migrants flood into Eagle Pass, Texas, and wait to be processed on Dec. 18, 2023. Texas has bussed nearly 30,000 migrants to Chicago since the summer of 2022. (Fox News)

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The lawsuit says the ordinance violates the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution and that it infringes on the right of the federal government to set immigration policy. It also says the ordinance violates the Illinois Constitution’s prohibition of special legislation.

“This case is about allowing immigrants the opportunity to call Chicago home,” the lawsuit reads.

Mike Kozlowski, who represents Wynne Transportation, told Fox News that Chicago is trying to clamp down on buses transporting migrants.

“I’m a little surprised, quite frankly, to see that the city has passed an ordinance, which is so clearly unconstitutional, and then is aggressively pursuing enforcement of that ordinance by filing 95 different lawsuits against these companies,” Kozlowski said.

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson (Jamie Kelter Davis/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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The bus company is also seeking compensatory damages as well as attorney’s fees and costs.

While running for office last year, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson was in full support of migrants coming to the city.

“Chicago is a sanctuary city. As such, we must always resist attempts to pit communities against each other and extend this sanctuary promise to everyone who needs it in our city – both long-time residents and newcomers alike,” his website stated.

Fox News’ Alexander Hall contributed to this report.

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