Chicago Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot is taking heat after she bussed dozens of migrants out of her city and housed them in a hotel in a smaller suburb without warning.
Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso, a Republican, accused Lightfoot of hypocrisy on Saturday. Grasso said Lightfoot bussed migrants into his town while complaining about similar behavior by Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R).
“We’re more than happy for people to find freedom, it is hypocrisy by the mayor of Chicago to complain about the governor of Texas – I do agree with what he’s doing – the city of Chicago says it’s going to be a sanctuary city which I oppose – but there must be vacant hotel rooms in Chicago. This is hundreds of people in a city of millions. Why are they sending them out to the Republican suburbs? You have to wonder,” Grasso told Fox News.
Some migrants bussed to Chicago, a so-called “sanctuary city,” from Texas are being put up at a Hampton Inn in Burr Ridge that was also used to house refugees from Afghanistan. The U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan last year sparked a humanitarian crisis after the Afghan government fell to the Taliban.
Abbott added Chicago to his list of cities receiving volunteer migrants that cross into the state over the U.S. southern border. The immigrants claim asylum and are released into the U.S. while they await their scheduled immigration court hearing.
Lightfoot slammed Abbott in a press conference last week: “There could be a level of coordination and cooperation, but he chooses to do none of those things. Instead, he chooses to send human beings across the country to an uncertain destination. That’s unacceptable.”
Grasso said that his community’s previous generosity toward the refugees in Afghanistan “does not give carte blanche to the governor or the mayor to send a couple of busloads of migrants to our village without telling us.”
“The border situation on the southern border is a totally different situation than Afghan refugees. It’s total arrogance for the state to assume they can send migrants to the suburbs around Chicago,” Grasso told Fox News.
A spokesman for Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) told a local Chicago outlet, WGN9, that the Burr Ridge Hampton Inn is being used to house the migrants under a previous arrangement between the hotel and state to house refugees from Afghanistan. The migrants will be at the Hampton Inn for at least 30 days after arriving.
“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,” said Jordan Abudayyeh, a spokesperson for Gov. Pritzker. “Gov. Pritzker has made it clear that Illinois is a welcoming state and xenophobia has no home here.”
Abbott began bussing volunteer migrants into Chicago as part of his growing campaign to pressure the Biden administration to crack down on a flood of migrants crossing illegally into the United States from Mexico. Abbott’s office reported that since Wednesday, Texas had bussed 300 migrants into Chicago. Thousands more migrants have been bussed to New York City and Washington, D.C.