(Part-1) Suburbs halted migrant bus arrivals after Chicago and New York crackdowns.

Trenton — The mayor of Edison, New Jersey, threatened to deport bus passengers back to the border. In Rockford, Illinois, officials announced 355 charter flight migrants would leave. “NO MIGRANT BUSES THIS EXIT,” signage on Interstate 55 in Grundy County, Illinois, southwest of Chicago, read before Christmas weekend.

Nervous officials in suburbs and outlying cities near Chicago and New York are ignoring migrants from the southern border as they try to circumvent bus restrictions in those cities, opening a new front in response to Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's efforts to pay for migrants to leave his state.

The acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection deems unlawful arrivals “unprecedented” after many days last month exceeded 10,000. Big-city Democratic mayors like Eric Adams of New York and Brandon Johnson of Chicago have asked the Biden administration for aid with the inflow for months.

Since 2022, Abbott has bused over 80,000 Texas migrants to Democratic-led communities, along with some from neighboring states. As Chicago and New York fined and ticketed buses for unplanned drop-offs, Abbott's government began chartering flights.

On New Year's Eve, 355 San Antonio migrants arrived at Chicago Rockford International Airport about 1 a.m. Local officials said none left the airport, 85 miles (137 kilometers) from downtown Chicago, before boarding busses. Chicago stated migrants on the Boeing 777 boarded eight Abbott-chartered vehicles for arrival in “various suburbs.” An earlier December aircraft transported 120 migrants to O'Hare.

Some Chicago suburbs have bus rules or are contemplating them. Tinley Park's law promises to “cite, impound or take other appropriate measures” against unannounced bus stops in the 60,000-person municipality. 

Last week, Broadview, an 8,000-person suburb west of Chicago, said it had to act “because the unloading of passengers in inclement or severe weather without a coordinated plan poses a significant threat to the health, safety and welfare” of bus passengers.

State officials said migrants are being dropped off at Jersey City, Secaucus, and Trenton rail stations. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy's office said “nearly all of them” are heading to New York and that the state is mostly a transit hub. Murphy's office said the state is collaborating with federal and local authorities but didn't elaborate.

Watch this space for further developments.