No plans to restrict migrant buses in most DuPage County communities

No problems reported as migrants arrive in suburbs on journey to Chicago

Migrants bussed to Elmhurst and other DuPage County communities are subsequently taken to Chicago via Metra train

Almost 3,000 migrants have arrived at train stations in several DuPage County communities since mid-December. When the buses arrive, migrants remain aboard and wait for the arrival of a train that will take them to Chicago.

Officials from communities where buses have made stops have said the process has been without incident. As a result, most DuPage County communities have decided against plans that threaten to fine bus operators for unscheduled drop-offs.

“The village has no plans at this time to enact any restrictions on the ability of migrants and their families to pass through the village,” Glen Ellyn Village President Mark Senak said in a Jan. 3 letter to residents. “Our primary concern is for the health and safety of our residents and anyone, including migrants and their families, who visit our community. The village will continue working closely with public safety staff and social service organizations to provide support.

“We, as a village, are treating these migrants as any other visitors to the village,” Senak added. “We respect their wishes and allow them to board the train, purchase tickets and proceed to their destination. There have been no issues or incidents with this approach.”

Glen Ellyn is not alone in taking this stance.

Elmhurst, Wheaton, Lombard, Winfield and Oak Brook have released statements over the past several days indicating that there are no plans to restrict buses transporting migrants.

Elmhurst Mayor Scott Levin said in a letter to the community that restricting buses carrying migrants could have unintended consequences.

“Although a small number of communities have adopted emergency ordinances to require bus companies to provide advance notice, I do not believe that we need such an ordinance at this time,” Levin said. “The city of Chicago ordinance caused unintended consequences being migrant buses directed to suburbs. We do not want a situation where these buses discharge their passengers at other locations, such as expressway exits, from where the passengers would be required to walk to the Metra station in dangerously cold weather. We have a number of contingency plans in place, and in the event that an ordinance might be required in the future, we are prepared to address it directly.”

Winfield Village President Carl Sorgatz made similar remarks in a letter to the community.

“A Winfield ordinance may result in buses discharging their passengers further from the Winfield Metra station and being told to walk to the station,” Sorgatz said. “It does not serve our residents or migrant families for them to walk through unfamiliar settings in dangerously cold weather and potentially miss their train to the city.”

Similarly, Wheaton “will continue working with local, regional and state partners on a cooperative approach that facilitates the safe transportation of asylum-seekers to where they can receive shelter,” according to a Jan. 4 statement posted on the city’s website.

The villages of Lombard and Bartlett also have indicated they have no plans to restrict migrant bus arrivals.

In a Jan. 4 letter, Oak Brook Village President Laurence Herman said that while the village has no plans to restrict buses, the community has experienced separate problems associated with the arrival of migrants.

“Over the last two months, Oak Brook has arrested 30 unlawful migrants for theft from retailers here in our community, activity which is putting an added burden on both our retail stores and police department,” Herman said.

In Cook County, Western Springs, which has not experienced any migrant bus drop-offs, has indicated it has no plans to restrict them.

“Should buses of migrants arrive in Western Springs we are prepared to support their efforts to safely and efficiently board Chicago-bound trains,” Western Springs Village President Heidi Rudolph said in a Jan. 5 letter to the community.

“Our focus is the health and safety of all people,” she said. “It is also to treat people with dignity and respect.”

Nearby Hinsdale on Jan. 2 approved an ordinance that requires five days advance notice and completion of an application before a bus carrying migrants arrives in the village. Buses that violate the ordinance face fines, seizure and impoundment.

There are a growing number of communities outside DuPage County that have banned unscheduled bus deliveries, threatening fines and vehicle seizures for violators. These communities include South Barrington, Elburn, Rosemont, Joliet, Woodstock, Waukegan, North Chicago and Lockport.

For community members wishing to assist migrants with food, clothing or household items, visit