Aurora City Council passes emergency ordinance with rules for migrant bus drop-offs

Saturday, December 23, 2023
Busloads of migrants dropped off in Chicago suburbs
Chicago subrbs like Aurora are passing their own rules after chartered buses from Texas started dropping off dozens of migrants in their communities to circumvent Chicago regulatio

AURORA, Ill. (WLS) -- The Aurora City Council passed an emergency ordinance Friday which will affect busloads of migrants sent to the suburb from the southern border.

The ordinance would require at least five days notice to the city for a bus planning to transport migrants to Aurora.

In addition, to get approval for the drop off to happen, anyone who is chartering a bus to the western suburb would be required to submit a detailed plan on how the migrants would be cared for, where they will live and how they will be fed.

Buses that arrive unannounced would be subject to fines and could also be impounded, similar to the ordinance recently passed in Chicago.

RELATED: Private plane from Texas drops off over 100 migrants at O'Hare Airport, city officials say

City officials said more buses of migrants arrived in Aurora this week and new arrivals on board were encouraged to board Metra trains to Chicago.

"That's been our instruction this whole time. Make sure they get to union station," said Natalie Wiza, Aurora emergency management coordinator. "The city of Chicago on their end is going to make sure the individuals get to the landing zone and get the services and processing they need."

Minutes after the resolution was passed, another bus showed up.

ABC7 witnessed another bus of 46 migrants arrive at the Aurora transportation center Friday afternoon. The driver got off as the migrants stayed on the bus. The driver bought them Metra tickets, and all 46 migrants are set to arrive at Union Station in Chicago.

It was the sixth bus to arrive in Aurora this week. The chaos of the drop off is why the Aurora officials said the emergency ordinance was needed.

Aurora city officials said it's simply not equipped to handle buses of migrants that arrive unannounced.

Residents packed the council chambers to voice their displeasure with the ordinance, but Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin said it's needed to create more transparency in the process.

"It's necessary for us to be responsible and take those steps to protect not only those individuals being dropped off, those migrants, but also to protect the residents of Aurora," Irvin said. "Don't send migrants to Aurora unless you send them with resources to be able to take care of themselves."

Residents who pushed back against the ordinance said they're disappointed because they don't think it is a permanent solution to the migrant crisis.

"They're not facing the situation," Aurora resident Denise Kehoe said. "Everyone kind of wants to wash their hands of everything, and that's not just Aurora, it's many places."

A similar migrant drop off incident happened in Manhattan, Illinois, Thursday night, when a busload of migrants tried to unload at a Metra station.

In a statement, the village, said "Our Police department spoke with the bus driver, and he indicated that they were looking for a train into Chicago. Upon learning there were no more trains tonight from Manhattan, the bus went to another station in Joliet. The Manhattan Police Department, along with other law enforcement and emergency management agencies continue to monitor the situation."

Another migrant bus drop off happened in Kankakee Friday, and the driver reportedly told the Venezuelan migrants that they had arrived in Chicago, police said. The migrants were found walking along the side of an expressway, wrapped in blankets with no food or money.

City officials across the suburbs are apparently working with Chicago leaders to pinpoint when and where the buses are going. There are reportedly still three more buses that could arrive somewhere in the region Friday.

ABC 7 has confirmed buses have also dropped off migrants in Elburn and Manhattan, as well as in Kankakee.