Highland Park and Deerfield both passed ordinances on Tuesday restricting unscheduled migrant drop-offs in the two towns and allowing them to impound buses and fine bus operators.
The Deerfield Village Board approved the ordinance regulating one-way unscheduled commercial bus and transportation services that drop off passengers in the village without pre-arranged resources such as food and shelter.
The ordinance says that those types of arrivals could jeopardize the health and safety of the passengers, constitute inhumane conditions, create dangerous conditions for the individuals being dropped and create a public safety concern.
It requires intercity bus operators to submit an application to the village with five business days of advanced notice.
The ordinance also establishes set times and locations for migrants to disembark.
“The ordinance the Board approved tonight is intended to address reasonable regulations to ensure that buses do not leave people unannounced, overnight or abandoned in the cold and that their safety as well as the safety of our residents is assured,” Deerfield Mayor Daniel Shapiro said.
“It is intended to make sure that migrants and asylum seekers are not randomly left in the cold and that they are redirected to the Intake Center in Chicago where there are services to help them. It also addresses the consequences to bus companies and drivers which fail to meet those regulations,” Shapiro said.
Bus operators who violate the ordinance will face a fine of $100-$750 per passenger and the bus will be subject to impound by the police department.
Misdemeanor charges could also be brought against the operators.
The Highland Park City Council also unanimously passed a similar ordinance during its Tuesday evening council meeting.
The Highland Park ordinance also requires an advanced application and has similar requirements to the Deerfield ordinance.
Those who violate the ordinance will be fined $750 and can have their bus seized.
Highland Park Council Member Andrés Tapia said the city’s focus was on safety and compassion.
“I’m proud to be a leader in a city that has the values of supporting individuals, families and children in need,” Tapia said.
Lee Goodman, a Northbrook resident, spoke out against the ordinance during public comment.
“This ordinance is not fooling anyone. You pretend it is to help people but what you’re really trying to do is to keep these people from getting off in your town,” Goodman said.
In late December, over 50 migrants were dropped off unscheduled by bus at a Metra station in Highland Park. They eventually boarded a Metra train bound for Chicago.