A northwest suburb of Chicago is expected to host 90 asylum seekers from Texas, but the village mayor said he hadn’t had much time – or notice – to prepare for the arrival of the migrants.
Elk Grove Village announced that the busload of migrants – who are being sent to northern “sanctuary cities” under a controversial plan by Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s administration – will arrive on Saturday, with plans to be abandoned at a local La Quinta hotel.
The asylum seekers were due to land on Friday afternoon, but their path of arrival was delayed as village officials said they remained unaware of the situation.
“The village received no notice that the migrants would be arriving here,” Elk Grove Mayor Craig Johnson said in a statement on Saturday. “We have not received any information on when the bus will arrive, where the migrants will stay or who is responsible for providing food or medical care.”
After learning of the impending arrival of asylum seekers, Johnson said village officials contacted a range of local agencies to determine how to handle a “myriad” of issues and proceed.
“While the village is now well informed of what is going on, I cannot tell you how disappointing it is to see the messy manner in which this has been handled by county, state and city officials. city of Chicago,” Johnson said.
Those sentiments were echoed by Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso, whose suburb welcomed 64 refugees on Wednesday. Grasso said he only learned secondhand that migrants would be arriving in the suburb.
The migrants are currently staying at a hotel in Burr Ridge.
Chicago said Saturday it had taken in a total of about 364 migrants from the Texas border since Aug. 31. Other asylum seekers are expected to arrive permanently in the state, city officials said.
“This is such a significant time for Chicago because our city has been a sanctuary for thousands of newcomers,” Lightfoot said in a statement earlier. “We welcome them and we will not turn our backs on those who need our help the most.”
“We understand that many are fleeing violent, traumatic or otherwise unstable environments,” the statement continued. “We will respond with essential services as these people navigate the next steps of their journey and our community partners have worked diligently to provide a safety net.”
According to the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois is responsible for transporting migrants and mitigating these efforts.
Johnson said the village has no formal role in managing plans that will accompany what happens next with individuals, but noted the village will continue to work with local agencies to address concerns.
“Task number one for us is to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our residents and our entire community,” Johnson said. “We will remain aware of this situation on their behalf, hold responsible agencies accountable, and manage this issue in a manner that keeps our residents safe and informed.”