Some immigrants arriving from Texas temporarily living in suburban hotel

About 300 immigrants have come to Chicago via Texas-charted buses to Illinois within the last week, according to Illinois officials. Some are now temporarily living at a suburban hotel.

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Immigrants load a bus outside Union Station on Aug. 31, 2022. Migrants from Venezuela were transported from Texas.

Immigrants load a bus outside Union Station on August 31, 2022. Migrants from Venezuela were transported from Texas.

Anthony Vázquez/Sun-Times file photo

More than 50 immigrants who arrived in Chicago from Texas within the past week have relocated to a suburban hotel where they will live for at least 30 days, according to local officials.

The Village of Burr Ridge confirmed Thursday that 64 immigrants who recently arrived from the nation’s southern border were transferred from a Salvation Army shelter in Chicago to a hotel located in a part of Burr Ridge that is in DuPage County. The group is expected to live at the hotel for at least 30 days, according to Burr Ridge and state officials.

The move to the suburbs happened as more buses arrived to Chicago from Texas for the third time in a week and more were expected. Chicago officials previously said that some of the individuals who came to Chicago were hoping to reunite with relatives or friends in other parts of the country.

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So far about 300 people, including some who are seeking asylum, have arrived in Illinois via Texas-chartered buses, according to the Illinois Department of Human Services. The state, and other local entities, are providing the newly arrived immigrants with food, shelter, health screenings and case management.

Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso said he heard about the group as residents started calling and sending him emails late Wednesday asking questions about the immigrants staying at the hotel.

“The mayor of Chicago [Lori Lightfoot] complained that she wasn’t given any information by the governor of Texas, which she has the right to get information, and I agree with her,” Grasso said. “She should have or somebody from the city who made this decision should have reached out to me or the Village of Burr Ridge and let me know, because I’m just as frustrated at her as she is with (Texas) Gov. (Greg) Abbott.”

Grasso said a heads up would have helped his staff gather information and quell fears circulating among residents about the group of immigrants. He joined an online webinar Thursday morning to hear details about the group, but he said he still wasn’t sure who was overseeing the immigrants living in the hotel.

“We want to be a community where people can get a better life,” he said. “We just want to know who’s coming and when they’re coming and get some basic information so that those who are here can also understand and be welcoming. But we didn’t [get] the information we should have had.”

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office said the state has a relationship with the hotel in Burr Ridge, which was previously used to temporarily house other refugees and asylum seekers. The state said the group staying at the hotel included about 30 families.

“Gov. Pritzker has made it clear that Illinois is (a) welcoming state and xenophobia has no home here,” according to the statement.

The Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association, which also helped the state house medical workers during the pandemic, has been working with the state to accommodate the migrants. IHLA President Michael Jacobson said in a statement that the association is “proud of the strong track record that our hotels have in helping those in need whether it’s now, during COVID, and other times throughout the year.”

“As state and city leaders continue to manage the arrival of migrants from Texas, some of our member hotels have chosen to provide safe and clean lodging for these families and individuals who are in dire straits,” Jacobson said. “We support their decision and will continue to work with Governor Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot as the situation develops.”

Earlier this year, the state contracted with two community organizations to help resettle Afghan refugees, and some temporarily lived in suburban hotels until the organizations were able to find permanent housing for the individuals.

Elvia Malagón’s reporting on social justice and income inequality is made possible by a grant from The Chicago Community Trust.

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