Mayor Ezard: No, There Are No Migrant Buses in Jacksonville

By Benjamin Cox on February 29, 2024 at 9:30am

Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard says there is no credence to the persistent rumors of claiming immigrants are being bused to buildings on the former MacMurray College campus.

Rumors have persisted for several weeks, with people calling to WLDS News reporting about individuals being dropped off at the former Katherine Hall as well as the MAC Gym.

Mayor Ezard says there would be transparency with the public about migrants being dropped here, but the rumors simply aren’t true: “No, there has not been any buses in the middle of the night show up in Jacksonville. We’ve not had any information or calls or letters saying that buses are coming. If we did, we would immediately alert the public. We would let the public know. It’s not something that I would keep close and try to cover up. It would be something we all would want to know about. If that happens, it’s not something that the city is requesting to happen. It’s coming from the upper offices of the state – the governor’s office or Northern Illinois politics. I think, as we have discussed in the past, it’s all moving parts. I’m not saying it couldn’t happen in Jacksonville, but I think we will be prepared if and when it does happen.”

Morgan County Emergency Management Coordinator Phil McCarty asked the City Council on Monday night to also tamp down any of the rumors, saying that the supposed people being dropped off at the former college campus are temporary workers here on jobs in the Jacksonville community. McCarty says its a bus simply picking people up to take them to and from work each day.

Ezard says he understands some of the hysteria and uneasiness about the situation as information trickles downstate about the problems that the Chicagoland area has faced with the housing and relocation of migrants that have been bused from the southern border: “I know it’s uneasy. You see it on TV all the time, listen about it, and see other communities being phased. But Jacksonville is not a Sanctuary City. I think that the folks who are behind this as far as moving individuals up north understand that we are Southern Illinois and not Northern Illinois, and they would like the folks feel the pinch up north rather than down here.”

Ezard says that there is a plan in place if something were to happen and he’s confident that the city would partner with the state to ensure that services could be put in place to house and relocate migrants if they were dropped off in the area.

For now, he says the situation isn’t here and people should disregard any social media rumors that say otherwise.