Bus drops off migrants at Woodstock train station; north suburban officials direct group to Chicago

ByStephanie Wade and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Sunday, December 31, 2023
North suburban officials direct migrants to Chicago
Why are migrants coming to Chicago? As rogue buses drop off migrants in suburban areas, Woodstock, IL officials directed a group to Chicago.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Woodstock officials directed a group of migrants dropped off at a train station there to go to Chicago, Mayor Michael Turner said in a statement on Saturday.

Turner said a bus dropped off a group of migrants at a Woodstock train station on Saturday afternoon.

"We saw children I would say, as young as 18 months to senior citizens, not prepared for this weather," said Woodstock City Council member Melissa McMahon. "Saw a very nondescript, white tour bus kind of thing, and we were like 'hmm,' knowing what's going on."

McMahon was driving down the street when she first spotted the bus and followed it to the Metra station, where she saw the migrants standing in the bitter cold.

Knowing they needed help, she immediately called Rob Mutert with the nonprofit Warp Corps.

"I have, you know, seen some crazy stuff in my life, but that, like, floored me," Mutert said. "This was women and children mostly who were freezing and starving."

In just four hours, they gathered supplies.

"We have an outreach point in our building for the unhoused and people that need supplies. So we had cold weather gear, hats, long underwear," Mutert said. "So we just loaded up the van and brought it over here and got a very unique first opportunity for me to see this thing with my own two eyes."

The asylum-seekers received bottled water, food and shelter, and city officials encouraged them to board the Metra train to Chicago, which, Turner said, is better-resourced to assist the migrants.

"Whether you're ready or not, people are coming. If we had warning, great, we would've had stuff here. If we don't, we do now," McMahon said.

Turner said Woodstock officials worked with McHenry County EMA to notify Chicago's OEMA to make sure the migrants would receive assistance and guidance when they arrived there.

A McHenry County spokesperson issued a statement on Saturday afternoon, saying, "Approximately 35 asylum-seekers were dropped off at the Metra station located at the City of Woodstock earlier today. They boarded the train headed to Chicago peacefully and there were no altercations or arrests."

SEE ALSO | Migrants Chicago: Grundy County places signs along I-55 to ward off buses as suburbs make own plans

Chicago's crackdown earlier this month on rogue buses, arriving without warning, has now led buses from Texas to the suburbs.

Places like Aurora, Matteson, Elburn, Chicago Ridge and Posen have recently passed ordinances, threatening hefty fines for bus drivers unloading asylum-seekers without notice.

Turner said in just a few days, the Woodstock City Council will also vote on their own ordinance to penalize bus companies who, he says, use Woodstock as a dumping ground