Texas sends busload of migrants to Elburn’s Metra train station

Village president to convene special board meeting

A train arrives Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, at the Elburn Metra Station.

A busload of 38 migrants sent to Illinois from Texas showed up the afternoon of Dec. 21 at the Elburn Metra train station.

Four of the people arriving had prearranged rides to pick them up, but the remaining 34 had nowhere to go, Elburn Village President Jeff Walter said.

“We had no prior notice they were coming,” Walter said. “We have no hotels, no places for people to stay.”

Village officials helped get the 34 individuals boarded onto the train headed for Chicago. They all had prepaid fare vouchers.

Police Chief Nick Sikora said that according to the Metra Railroad Police, once the individuals arrived in Chicago, they would be taken to a processing center.

Walter, Sikora and Village Administrator John Nevenhoven gathered at Village Hall to discuss the village’s next steps.

“We’re working on defining what our options should be,” Walter said.

The city of Chicago passed an ordinance Dec. 13 prohibiting buses from arriving and dropping people off in the city with no prior notice.

Drivers began taking their busloads of people out to the Chicago suburbs. Elburn is about 50 miles west of Chicago.

Several municipalities, including Elk Grove Village and Schaumburg, are finding ways to prevent this from happening, Walter said. They are considering measures such as impounding the buses and fining the drivers as much as $750 an incident.

At least one suburb is taking a different tack. According to its website, the village of Oak Park has reallocated unspent money that was allotted to municipalities during the pandemic and is using a grant from the state to municipalities providing support to asylum seekers to provide aid to migrants through the beginning of February 2024.

Oak Park’s website indicates the village is officially supporting 162 asylum seekers residing in a hotel and a YMCA within the community, including 57 children under the age of 18. In addition, 18 individuals are staying at a local church with the support of volunteers.

Walter said the village of Elburn plans to convene a special board meeting next week to develop its own ordinance to deal with the situation.