The Vernon Hills Village Board discusses an ordinance on banning unscheduled bus drop-offs in the village during a board meeting on January 25. | Photo: Screengrab

Gurnee and Vernon Hills have become the latest towns in Lake County to ban buses from dropping off migrants and allow the towns to impound buses that do so.

The Gurnee Village Board unanimously voted to pass a regulation of unscheduled bus stops ordinance last week.

Gurnee Mayor Tom Hood said the developing migrant crisis and an increasing number of buses transporting people from Texas to the Chicagoland area led the board to bring forward the ordinance.

The ordinance requires that a bus company apply to the village for permission to drop off passengers for non-regularly scheduled stops.

The application requires contact information for the bus company, driver, person who paid for the bus and the individual who will meet the bus.

It also requires the full names of all persons to be dropped off in the village, including background checks for those over 18 years old.

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A detailed plan identifying how the passengers will be cared for, fed and housed is also required.

Buses who drop off migrants and do not follow the ordinance can be fined up to $1,000 and the village can impound the bus.

Hood said that Gurnee has not yet experienced a busload of people being dropped off in the town without a place to go.

“However, surrounding towns have struggled with buses stranding groups of passengers, and they have been scrambling to address the issue,” Hood said.

The mayor said the village has contacted a church to house individuals on a limited emergency basis in case migrants are dropped off unscheduled.

Village staff have also arranged for a bus company to be available to transport those dropped off in Gurnee to Chicago and for water and food to be available for the migrants during the wait.

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“The intent [of the ordinance] is to create a safe and orderly way to ensure these individuals find shelter in the correct location. Simply dropping off a group of people in the middle of town with no further instructions provides a unsafe and untenable situation for the individuals as well as the town,” Hood said.

The Vernon Hills Village Board also unanimously passed a similar ordinance during its board meeting last week.

The ordinance imposes fines of $750 per passenger and allows buses to be impounded.

The passage of the ordinance came following less than 10 minutes of discussion between the board trustees, police chief and the village attorney.

Some board trustees were concerned that the ordinance would apply to other buses besides those dropping off migrants.

Vernon Hills Police Chief Patrick Kreis said his officers have discretion when it comes to applying laws and ordinances.

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