Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot came under attack last week when two mayors in the suburbs of Chicago complained that migrants had been bussed into their towns without communicating with town officials beforehand.
The migrants initially arrived in Chicago as part of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s “drop-off” policy. Pritzker and Lightfoot previously denounced Abbott for the policy, which has resulted in the relocation of upwards of 360 migrants from Texas border towns to Chicago since Aug. 31.
“Unfortunately, Texas Governor Greg Abbott is without any shame or humanity,” Lightfoot said in an Aug. 31 statement. “But ever since he put these racist practices of expulsion in place, we have been working with our community partners to ready the city to receive these individuals.”
When it was discovered that the migrants sent to Chicago were then bussed to hotels in the surrounding suburbs, the mayors in those towns criticized Pritzker and Lightfoot for not communicating with them first.
“Two wrongs don’t make a right,” Elk Grove Mayor Craig Johnson stated. “So if you’re upset about being blindsided, don’t turn around and blindside these neighboring communities in your state.”
“It’s not right,” he added.
Johnson later indicated that Lightfoot had reached out to apologize for the lack of communication and to inform him that state officials were responsible for the move.
Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso took a similar stance when he found out last Wednesday that 64 migrants were bussed from Chicago to a Hampton Inn in his town, where they will remain for at least 27 days.
“We’re more than happy for people to find freedom, [but] it is hypocrisy by the mayor of Chicago to complain about the governor of Texas,” Grasso said.
Grasso also voiced his belief that Pritzker and Lightfoot are using the migrants as “political pawns.”
Jordan Abudayyeh, press secretary for Pritzker, responded to Grasso’s remarks, indicating that the hotel in Burr Ridge had been used in the past for refugees from Afghanistan.
“Gov. Pritzker has made it clear that Illinois is [a] welcoming state and xenophobia has no home here,” Abudayyeh went on to say.
Grasso was quick to respond, calling the statement “ill-advised” and “disrespectful.”
Abbott’s office also issued a statement on the matter, laying into Pritzker and Lightfoot.
“These Democrat elites are absolute hypocrites, and now their hypocrisy is on full display for the entire nation,” said Renae Eze, Abbott’s press secretary. “Governor Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot have been complaining about a few hundred migrants being [bussed] into self-declared sanctuary city Chicago, then turn around and dump them in the suburbs for Republican mayors to deal with.”
According to the Pritzker’s office, the migrants now have legal work visas and the state will be paying for their shelter while they look for jobs. The mayor of Elk Grove indicated that some of the migrants there have already found work.
Since April, thousands of migrants have been transported from Texas to Washington, D.C., New York City, and Chicago in the wake of the directive issued by Abbott to address what he called an “unprecedented surge of illegal aliens.”
Abbott has insisted that Lightfoot shift her focus to who he calls the true cause of the border crisis: President Joe Biden.