A suburban Illinois mayor demanded an apology from Gov. J.B. Pritzker Wednesday after the Democrat labeled local leaders “xenophobic” for speaking out about the bussing of migrants to their small towns without proper notice.
Craig Johnson, mayor of Elk Grove Village, said he received a call on Sept. 9 informing him that a bus of migrants would be arriving in his town. But when Johnson asked how many migrants, where they were going or when they would arrive, he was given no answers.
“More importantly, we asked what kind of safety backgrounds had they done, and what kind of health backgrounds they had done, because that’s important for our community,” he said on “Fox & Friends.”
Johnson said it was wrong of Gov. Pritzker to label him as “xenophobic” for simply asking questions.
“These are human beings, so we want to treat them with dignity and respect,” Johnson told host Steve Doocy. “But we want to make sure that they’re safe for our community and being involved here.”
Johnson said he would not allow the migrants into his community until he got answers.
Hours later, Johnson said he was contacted by the director of Homeland Security for the border region and was assured the migrants had been screened for health issues like COVID-19 and monkeypox.
“I want to have faith in our federal government,” he said. “So once we heard that, we said, ‘okay, they’re allowed in.’”
Johnson said the governor’s comments still bothered him, as his community has worked to accommodate the migrants and provide them with necessities.
“The president of the United States says they’re legal, so we’re treating them as legal people,” he said. “We want to give them jobs, get them to work, and be able to take care of themselves and pay taxes.”
Johnson said he still wants Pritzker to apologize to the residents of the community.
“We want to continue to welcome people,” he said. “But don’t call us ever again xenophobic.”