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

By | September 11, 2022

The Republican mayor of a town in the suburban Chicagoland area says that Governor J.B. Pritzker’s office is calling him “xenophobic” for questioning why a busload of 64 migrants were shipped out of Chicago into his town.

147 migrants were bused from Texas to Chicago on Wednesday and sixty-four of them were then taken to a Hampton Inn hotel in Burr Ridge, Illinois, which is outside of Chicago.

Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso, who is a Republican, told Fox News that he thinks the migrants are being used as “political pawns” by both Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

“As is my understanding, this hotel, about a year ago, when refugees came in from Afghanistan, apparently accepted several either through faith-based or charitable organizations, but now the state assumes they can just send migrants… this isn’t about them, the migrants is fine, they’re being used as political pawns by the governor and mayor,” Grasso said.


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

“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 [a] welcoming state and xenophobia has no home here,” Abudayyeh said.

Grasso says that the comment from Pritzker’s office is “ill-advised” and shows how the governor’s office treats people who question his actions.

“Yesterday, the Governor’s office issued a statement that inferred the Village was xenophobic for reacting to the placement of the refugees in our community without information or notice. Such an ill-advised comment exemplifies the combativeness the Governor’s office has shown anyone who questions the actions of the State – from the lengthy closure of the state during the pandemic without the Legislature’s concurrence and now the disrespectful manner his office is treating the Village and its residents,” Grasso said.


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

Grasso said that the Hampton Inn was previously used to house refugees from Afghanistan, but says that doesn’t “give carte blanche to the governor or the mayor to send a couple of bus loads 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 said.

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

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

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