The McHenry City Council has approved an ordinance that now allows the city to impound buses and fine operators $10,000 for dropping off migrants without notice.
The city council held a special meeting at 6 p.m. Friday to discuss and vote on the ordinance.
The council unanimously passed the ordinance and it went into effect immediately.
The ordinance amends sections of the city’s code regarding chartered transportation drop-off and vehicle impoundment.
McHenry Mayor Wayne Jett told Lake and McHenry County Scanner the ordinance aims to deter bus drivers from entering McHenry and dropping off migrants.
Commercial motor vehicles will be required to contact city officials five days in advance and pay a small fee if they are dropping off 10 or more passengers.
The ordinance does not apply to vehicles that operate on a “predictable and recurring basis” like school buses and does not apply to buses for private events such as weddings and parties.
Bus drivers who drop off migrants without proper notice will have their buses impounded, Jett said.
The ordinance increases the vehicle impound fee from $500 to $10,000, which will have to be paid as a bond for the bus to be released. The bond is refundable if they are found not guilty of the violation, Jett said.
Signs will be posted at all entrances to the City of McHenry warning of the consequences.
Other home-rule municipalities in the area, including Woodstock and Crystal Lake, are also working on similar ordinances.
The mayor said the ordinance will provide safety to the community and help migrants get to Chicago, which is where they intend to go.
The ordinance says McHenry cannot safely and effectively address a sudden and unexpected arrival of large volumes of people in need of assistance.
“The City Council has confirmed that it is in the bests interests of the health, safety and welfare of the City and its residents to coordinate the arrival of any large influx of refugees or immigrants, rather than responding on an emergency basis to unexpected drop-offs at all hours of the day or night and in all weather conditions,” the ordinance says.
Last weekend, the Village of Fox River Grove said a group of 38 migrants were transported from Texas and dropped off at the village’s Metra station.
The individuals were falsely told they had arrived in Chicago and disembarked from their bus just after midnight Saturday.
The village said arrangements facilitated by accompanying guides were made for Metra train tickets and the migrants continued their journey from Fox River Grove to Chicago on the train.
On December 21, migrants were dropped off by bus at the Pingree Road Metra station in Crystal Lake.