Illinois mayor reacts to governor’s ‘ill-advised’ comment inferring ‘xenophobia’ amid Chicago migrant crisis

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The Republican mayor of a suburban Chicago town has said Gov. JB Pritzker’s office called him “xenophobic” for asking why a bus of 64 migrants was shipped from Chicago to his city.

147 migrants were bused from Texas to Chicago on Wednesday and 64 of them were later taken to a Hampton Inn hotel in Burr Ridge, Illinois, outside of Chicago.

Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso, who is a Republican, told Fox News he believed the migrants were being used as “political pawns” by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and Chicago Mayor JB Pritzker. Lori Lightfoot.

“From what I understand this hotel, about a year ago when refugees arrived from Afghanistan, apparently accepted several through faith-based or charitable organizations, but now the state guess he can just send migrants…it’s not about them, the migrants are fine, they’re being used as political pawns by the governor and the mayor,” Grasso said.


Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso (left) and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (right).
(FOX 32 and Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Pritzker press secretary Jordan Abudayyeh told WGN it’s interesting that local officials are complaining about the issue.

“The state is working with our partners in the City of Chicago and Cook County, as well as advocacy organizations, to welcome asylum seekers to the United States and provide them with stability as they are working to build a new life in Illinois the state has a previous relationship with the hotel used in the suburbs and their staff have done an amazing job of accommodating refugees and asylum seekers before so it’s interesting that the local authorities choose this specific case to complain to the press about this specific group of asylum seekers which consists of approximately 30 families Governor Pritzker has made it clear that Illinois is [a] a welcoming state and xenophobia have no place here,” Abudayyeh said.

Grasso says the comment from Pritzker’s office is “misguided” and shows how the governor’s office treats people who question its actions.

“Yesterday, the Governor’s office released a statement that infers that the village was xenophobic for reacting to the placement of refugees in our community without information or notice. Such a misguided comment illustrates the combativeness the Governor’s office has shown to anyone questions the actions of the state – from the state’s long shutdown during the pandemic without the assent of the Legislative Assembly and now the disrespectful manner in which his office treats the village and its people,” said Grasso.


Migrants who have been taken to Burr Ridge will stay at a Hampton Inn for at least 30 days.

Migrants who have been taken to Burr Ridge will stay at a Hampton Inn for at least 30 days.
(FOX 32)

Migrants will spend at least the next 27 days at the Burr Ridge Hampton Inn.

Grasso said the Hampton Inn was previously used to house refugees from Afghanistan, but says that doesn’t “give the governor or the mayor carte blanche to send a few busloads of migrants into our village without telling us.”

“The border situation on the southern border is a totally different situation than the Afghan refugees. It’s total arrogance on the part of the state to assume that it can send migrants to the suburbs around Chicago,” said Grasso said.

A spokesperson for the Village of Burr Ridge said the migrants were transported from the Salvation Army’s Shield of Hope in Chicago to Burr Ridge, according to NBC5.


Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduces Jazmine Sullivan on the first day of Lollapalooza in 2022 at Grant Park on July 28, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois

Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduces Jazmine Sullivan on the first day of Lollapalooza in 2022 at Grant Park on July 28, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois
(Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

According to the report, a statement by the Illinois Department of Social Services reads that migrants “receive temporary shelter in urban and suburban hotels that have provided refuge to vulnerable families from Afghanistan and other parts of the world. We are grateful for the hospitality and care they received from individuals and organizations across Illinois.”

“We will continue to take action to ensure that everyone in Illinois has access to shelter, food, healthcare and other essential basic supports,” the statement said. “We anticipate that the State of Texas will continue to bus migrants to Illinois, and we remain committed to helping welcome newcomers in a responsible, orderly, and compassionate manner.”

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