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Illinois declares emergency over Texas migrant buses

The governor also called up 75 members of the Illinois National Guard.

September 15, 2022 5:46pm

Updated: September 15, 2022 9:38pm

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) declared an emergency disaster proclamation as hundreds of asylum seekers continue arriving in his state from Texas.

About 500 migrants have arrived in Chicago since the first bus from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) in September, and more continue to arrive without advanced notice, said state officials.

“The state of Illinois is doing everything in its power to support local jurisdictions to help ensure that the right tools and supports are in place as we move forward with this humanitarian response,” Mr. Pritzker said at a news conference, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The governor also called up 75 members of the Illinois National Guard to assist with the efforts. His proclamation will streamline coordination between the city of Chicago, Cook County and other local governments to provide for migrants.

Abbott and Arizona Gov. Pete Ducey (R) began sending migrants who arrived at the U.S. southern border to Democrat-led cities in April after months of inaction from the Biden administration, beginning with Washington DC.

The Texas governor sent the first migrant bus of around 60 to Chicago earlier this month, calling upon its mayor, Lori Lightfoot (D), to honor her city’s “sanctuary” law that limits cooperation with federal immigration enforcement.

“Mayor Lightfoot loves to tout the responsibility of her city to welcome all regardless of legal status, and I look forward to seeing this responsibility in action as these migrants receive resources from a sanctuary city with the capacity to serve them," Abbott said in a statement. 

Gary Grasso, mayor of the nearby suburb of Burr Ridge, blasted Lightfoot and state authorities for not consulting with him before busing 64 newly-arrived migrants from Chicago to a hotel in his village.

Grasso promised to secure the border and “defund sanctuary cities” in his campaign in the GOP primary to represent Illinois’ 6th congressional district, which he lost.

“There are people here that want to offer some of these migrants jobs; we have restaurants that need cleaning people, bus boys and women — local groceries have reached out and asked if they can make offers,” Grasso explained.

“If this had been better coordinated we probably could have started finding them jobs – or help the kids go to school. We wouldn’t have objected to that.”