A tragic incident occurred on a bus chartered by the state of Texas, as a 3-year-old child lost their life while being transported from Brownsville to Chicago as part of Governor Greg Abbott’s program to send migrants to Democratic-run cities in other states. The child’s parents were also on the bus and noticed symptoms of illness, including a fever and diarrhea, before the child lost consciousness. Representative Joaquin Castro, a Democratic congressman from San Antonio, was briefed on the death.
The Texas Department of Emergency Management, responsible for running Governor Abbott’s busing program, confirmed the child’s death and stated that all passengers on the bus had been processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Prior to boarding, their temperatures were checked, and they were asked if they required any medical assistance. They confirmed that no passengers showed any signs of fever or medical concerns before boarding. However, they did not provide additional information about the timing of the death, the nature of the illness, the child’s name or gender, or the family’s country of origin.
The Illinois Department of Public Health informed The Associated Press that the death occurred on Thursday. This marks the first reported death related to Governor Abbott’s program of busing migrants from Texas to cities like New York, Washington, and Philadelphia. Since the program began in April 2022, approximately 30,000 migrants have been transported out of Texas, with over 4,600 going to Chicago. Texas officials have emphasized that only migrants who agree to the travel are placed on the buses. Despite requests for comment, a spokesman for Governor Abbott did not respond.
The child began displaying symptoms in Illinois and was taken to a hospital in the town of Salem, approximately 250 miles south of Chicago and 1,200 miles north of Brownsville, according to Mr. Castro. The child’s parents had intended to reach Indiana, where they have relatives. The child tragically passed away at the hospital, as confirmed by the Texas emergency department. In response to the incident, the bus pulled over once the child presented health concerns, and security personnel on board promptly called 911 for emergency attention. The Illinois State Police are investigating the death.
Mr. Castro, along with Representative Jesús García of Illinois, issued a joint statement calling for federal government intervention to halt the busing program. The statement criticized Operation Lone Star for trafficking asylum-seekers in poor conditions across the country and urged the Biden administration to address the issue.