Pritzker calls up Illinois National Guard to assist with migrants bused from Texas

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CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is signing a disaster proclamation to secure resources for the asylum-seekers bused to Illinois from Texas and has deployed 75 National Guard members to assist with the logistics of receiving the migrants, he announced Wednesday.

Pritzker again criticized his Texas counterpart, Greg Abbott, for failing to coordinate or communicate with Illinois and Chicago officials and questioned why he’s only sending migrants to politically “blue” cities and states.

“What the governor of Texas is doing is a stunt … dumping these human beings off in the dead of night,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker noted the migrants are in the country legally and that many trekked for weeks to make it to the U.S. border to escape oppression and persecution.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called the situation a “manufactured crisis by ambush,” saying Abbott’s aim is to “reignite anti-immigrant sentiment” and drain the resources of northern cities.

Pritzker said he will seek all available federal assistance, while Lightfoot suggested federal assistance should be diverted from Texas to other places who are welcoming the migrants.

Among the latest group of migrants to arrive from Texas were more than 100 people who disembarked at Union Station from two buses Friday. Some members of the group said they were from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Most got onto a couple of CTA buses that were waiting for their arrival, while a few others waited at Union Station for other accommodations.

Friday’s group was at least the fourth round of asylum-seeking migrants in the past two weeks to arrive from Texas, part of a practice by Abbott to bus migrants who arrive at the Texas-Mexico border to northern cities that have also included New York and Washington, D.C.

The first group arrived at Union Station on Aug. 31 in two buses carrying approximately 75 people seeking asylum. Another bus of migrants arrived in Chicago over the holiday weekend with more than 50 people looking for new beginnings. And more than 150 asylum-seekers arrived in three more buses earlier last week.

Most all of the people who get off the buses from Texas carry the same clear plastic bags that have their paperwork and small personal items.

Lightfoot’s office said Friday’s group was being taken on the CTA buses to a religious organization for next steps. The city has taken previous groups to shelter at Salvation Army Shield of Hope and even sent some to the suburbs for temporary housing, for which the city has gotten some backlash.

Suburban Elk Grove Village had two buses carrying 90 migrants arrive Saturday, and Mayor Craig Johnson said he was notified of their arrival Friday afternoon but had several questions about the logistics. He asked that the city and state work with suburban mayors to arrange for a more organized transition for the people arriving in the area.

Last week, 64 migrants were placed in temporary hotel housing in southwest suburban Burr Ridge, and the village was not consulted or contacted ahead of time about their arrival, according to a statement from Mayor Gary Grasso.

©2022 Chicago Tribune. Visit chicagotribune.com.

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Region: Metro East,Politics,City: St. Louis, MO

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September 14, 2022 at 12:59PM

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