migrants, Chicago, bus company, Texas, lawsuit

Texas Bus Company Sues Chicago Over Migrant Ordinance

The ordinance's measures include potential "seizure and impoundment" of buses, and $3,000 fines for unloading migrant passengers outside designated hours and locations.

Wynne Transportation LLC, a Texas-based bus company, has initiated legal action against the city of Chicago, challenging the constitutionality of an ordinance that imposes restrictions on dropping off migrants, according to CNN. The lawsuit, which was filed Jan. 5, contends that the Chicago ordinance violates both the U.S. Constitution and the Illinois Constitution, and seeks declaratory judgment and injunctive relief from the city.

The December ordinance imposes stringent measures, including potential “seizure and impoundment” of buses, $3,000 fines, and towing and storage fees for unloading migrant passengers outside designated hours and locations without a permit. Bus companies are also required to provide advance notice and obtain approval from the city before dropping migrants off at designated landing zones.

Wynne Transportation contends that the ordinance hampers migrants’ entry into Chicago by imposing excessive requirements and harsh penalties. The company also says the ordinance infringes on constitutional rights and impedes migrants from reaching their desired destination in Chicago.

The lawsuit asserts that the ordinance violates the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution and interferes with the federal government’s authority to set immigration policy. It also alleges a violation of the Illinois Constitution’s prohibition of special legislation.

“This case is about allowing immigrants the opportunity to call Chicago home,” states the lawsuit, which also emphasizes the broader implications for migrants seeking sanctuary in that city.

Attorney Mike Kozlowski, who’s representing Wynne Transportation, expressed surprise at Chicago’s enforcement of an ordinance he considers unconstitutional. “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.”

The legal dispute unfolds against the backdrop of Texas Governor Greg Abbott busing nearly 30,000 migrants to Chicago since summer 2022, despite Chicago being a sanctuary city.

The bus company is not only seeking injunctive relief but also compensatory damages, attorney’s fees, and costs. The case highlights the complexities and legal challenges arising from the intersection of state and local regulations in the context of immigration and sanctuary city policies.

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