BURR RIDGE, Ill. — WGN Investigates has learned several dozen of the migrants Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent to Chicago have now been relocated to a hotel in the suburbs without advance warning to the local mayor.
“I am concerned neither the village administrator nor I were told about this,” Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso told WGN. “We want to know: Why Burr Ridge?”
Just days ago, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot blasted Abbott for treating the migrants like “cargo” and not providing her with advance notice they were arriving.
“My frustration comes from the actions of the governor of Texas,” Lightfoot said Sunday, when the first bus load of 50 migrants arrived. “There could be a level of coordination and cooperation, but he chooses to do none of those things and instead tries to send human beings — not cargo, not freight — human beings across the country to an uncertain destination.”
On Wednesday, a group of 75 more migrants arrived in Chicago from Texas.
Democratic politicians including Lightfoot, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker have vowed to welcome the migrants and provide a full range of services to meet their immediate needs.
Chicago is a so-called sanctuary city and so is Cook County. Local officials have passed laws meant to protect immigrants from deportation. However, the portion of Burr Ridge where many of the migrants are staying is actually in DuPage County.
While campaigning for Congress, Grasso said he would work to secure the border and “defund sanctuary cities.” However, Grasso noted his village board had not taken a position on sanctuary cities.
Grasso said he only became aware of the migrants’ arrival in his village after residents began alerting village officials. He has since been invited to an online meeting with state officials.
At a Thursday morning event, Pritzker did not specifically address the location of the migrants but criticized Texas officials for treating them like cattle.
“What the governor of Texas is doing is disgusting and it needs to stop,” Pritzker said. “It shouldn’t be that the governor of Texas is taking these people and treating them like cattle, treating them like property, putting them on busses and sending them wherever he wants to send them.”\
The governor’s spokesperson issued the following statement:
The state is working with our partners at the City of Chicago and Cook County along with advocacy organizations to welcome those seeking asylum in the United States and provide them stability as they work to build a new life in Illinois. The state has a prior relationship with the hotel being used in the suburbs and their staff has done amazing work welcoming refugees and asylum seekers before, so it is interesting that local officials are choosing this specific instance to gripe to the press about this specific group of asylum seekers that consists of about 30 families. Gov. Pritzker has made it clear that Illinois is welcoming state and xenophobia has no home here.Jordan Abudayyeh
Press Secretary, Office of Gov. JB Pritzker
A spokesperson for Lightfoot did not immediately respond to request for comments.
Lightfoot has previously said most of the migrants who have arrived here are from Venezuela. Authorities have not said when they arrived in the U.S.
Abbott has now bused immigrants to Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. — all of which have Democratic mayors.
He suggested the policy would continue, saying in a previous statement that Chicago has become a drop-off location as a solution to what he called President Joe Biden’s “open border policies overwhelming border communities in Texas.”
Lightfoot said Chicago-area governments and community groups have been preparing for weeks in case Abbott sent migrants here.
She called the policy “racist and xenophobic.”
“He is manufacturing a crisis,” Lightfoot said last week. “If it continues, we will be ready.”
On Thursday night, Illinois GOP candidate for governor Darren Bailey released the following statement.
“No city can handle this on their own, but Illinoisans are doing what we always do and helping those who need help. The failures lie with J.B. Pritzker and his pal Joe Biden who has created a crisis at the border. Pritzker should demand that Biden secure the border and in the meantime, provide the resources to care for these people. If J.B. won’t do that, he should put them in one of his Hyatt’s on his own dime.”