Elburn, Chicago Ridge pass ban on unscheduled migrant bus drop-offs

Thursday, December 28, 2023
Elburn, Chicago Ridge approve measures to stop buses dropping off migrants without notice
Two suburbs have voted in favor of new legislation designed to stop buses from dropping off migrants without notice.

ELBURN, Ill. (WLS) -- Our coverage on this topic has moved here.

Two suburbs have voted in favor of new legislation designed to stop buses from dropping off migrants without notice.

The Elburn village board voted unanimously Wednesday night to ban unscheduled migrant bus drop-offs.

The Elburn ordinance, like most of the ordinances passed in the city and suburbs, require buses dropping off migrants to have a permit. Elburn demands five days advanced notice of a bus arrival, background checks on migrants on board, and establishes their Metra station as the designated drop off zone. If those terms are violated, the bus company will be fined up to $750 per passenger.

Because the ordinance has fines attached to it, the Elburn village administrator said there will be a 15 day waiting period before it goes into effect.

ABC7 Political Analyst Laura Washington discusses the latest on the migrant crisis.

Village officials reported last week a bus load of 38 asylum seekers had been dropped off at the Metra station there, with no prior notice, then they loaded a train to Chicago.

"Last Thursday we received one bus. Total of 41 people on board," said Elburn Village Administrator John Nevenhoven. "When a bus shows up we want to make sure that they can get on the train, that they can get to their final destination."

Elburn, which is 50 miles west of Chicago, isn't the only community facing similar incidents, migrants have been dropped off in other towns, including Aurora, Fox River Grove, Rosemont, Elmhurst, and University park in recent weeks.

Chicago Ridge also voted to take similar action.

Rosemont and Aurora have enacted ordinances banning unscheduled drop-offs.

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"We did one yesterday in Orland Hills, We're doing one tomorrow in Matteson. It's the same type of model ordinance that we've put our flavor to accommodate the particular municipality as far as the size," said Burt Odelson, village attorney for Chicago Ridge.

Odelson represents some three dozen municipalities across the state, including Chicago Ridge.

"We need to regulate where a bus drop is going to be. Not don't bring the migrants, tell us when. Get a permit so we know who you are and we can safely provide for the migrants and for our residents," he said.

The city of Chicago also passed an ordinance earlier this month, prohibiting buses from arriving and dropping people off in the city with no prior notice. Already, Mayor Brandon Johnson said, over 100 citations have been given.

"It's about a 110 citations thus far and that number continues to grow and yes, we had to impound a couple of buses thus far," Mayor Johnson said. "The whole impetus behind this is, as you know, is to create some calm and some structure around this operation."

At least 10 migrant buses are expected to arrive in Chicago Wednesday. Whether it will be at the designated landing zone or not is an open question.

"Sending buses all over the State of Illinois and all over the country is reckless and quite frankly is dangerous," Johnson said. "Without real significant investment from the federal government it won't just be the City of Chicago that won't be able to maintain this mission, it's the entire country that is now at stake."

In a joint press conference with the mayors of New York City and Denver, Johnson acknowledged how Chicago's crackdown on rogue buses has led to suburbs now being inundated with migrants. He said he convened a meeting with 80 of his counterparts last week to discuss how to best coordinate their efforts. Passage of similar ordinances is step one.

"I anticipate that county government or county governments will also follow this lead because many of these individual cities and towns don't have a home rule authority and we have to make sure we're encompassing all the surrounding towns and villages to create the type of structure and calm that's needed in this crisis," the mayor said.

The mayor also calling on the federal government to declare a national emergency, saying receiving cities across the country are near or at capacity.

But Oak Park has a different approach. The village is using a grant from the state to support 162 asylum-seekers housed at a hotel and a YMCA.

In addition, 18 people are staying at a local church with the support of volunteers.