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A 3-year-old Venezuelan girl on a migrant bus heading from Texas to Chicago has died, marking the first reported death since Texas initiated its migrant transport program.

The Texas Division of Emergency Management confirmed the incident and did not reveal specific details about the child’s origin or the cause of her illness. In response to the child’s deteriorating health, the bus made an emergency stop, and first responders were immediately called. The child later died at a hospital.

The Illinois Department of Public Health released a brief statement confirming the girl’s death and adding it happened in Marion County. They also expressed their commitment to working with other agencies to establish the reason for the child’s death.

This comes as support and criticism over Texas’ migrant busing initiative, launched under Republican Governor Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star, which has transported over 30,000 migrants to Democrat-led cities across the nation since its inception last year.

Here’s what Republicans are saying:
Republican lawmakers argue that the initiative is not cruel and actually assists migrants in getting the resources they need. Governor Greg Abbott has previously argued that “sanctuary cities” provide the best resources for migrants, noting that Texas communities have already strained resources.

Here’s what Democrats are saying:
Common messaging from Democrats over Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s bus program is The program has recently faced heightened scrutiny from Democrat lawmakers, who argue the transportation of migrants is cruel. They also argue that migrants are “duped” into taking these journeys by being promised resources and jobs.


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