Almost 40 migrants were dropped off Saturday at the Metra station in Woodstock just days before the city council is set to vote on an ordinance cracking down on the practice.
Woodstock Mayor Michael Turner said a bus conducted a drop-off of migrants at the Woodstock Metra station. They were dropped off around 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
Turner said the city had pre-planned for the situation and enacted the plan when officials became aware of the migrants’ arrival.
Bottled water was distributed and arrangements were made for them to continue their travel via train.
“For the City of Woodstock, we determined that our approach would be to encourage and direct these migrants to accept transportation into the City of Chicago via train or bus so that they can make use of the City of Chicago / State of Illinois / Federal government resources available to provide assistance to them,” Turner said.
“The City of Woodstock does not have the staff, monetary resources, or expertise to manage the short and long-term needs of migrants dropped off buses from out of State,” the mayor added.
36 migrants boarded a Metra train bound for Ogilvie Transportation Center in Chicago, according to Metra police. It is unclear if more than 36 migrants were dropped off by bus.
Rob Mutert, the Managing Director of the non-profit organization Warp Corps, said he went to the train station and dropped off cold-weather clothing for the migrants, who were mostly from Venezuela.
“Human 1st, migrants 2nd. The only two words most of them knew was thank you. I just heard it 100 times,” Mutert said, adding that many of the migrants consisted of children.
The mayor told Lake and McHenry County Scanner on Friday that the city council will be voting on a bus ordinance.
The city council will vote on the ordinance, titled “Unscheduled Drop-Off of Large Groups in the City,” during a meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Turner said the ordinance is modeled after the City of Chicago and the City of Aurora’s bus ordinances targeting migrant drop-offs.
Under those ordinances, bus companies transporting migrants are required to notify the respective cities several days in advance of any arrivals by submitting an application.
The ordinances allow the cities to impound buses and fine bus companies.
Woodstock’s proposed ordinance would allow the city to issue violators fines of $10,000 plus $750 per passenger, in addition to impounding buses pending a hearing.