With migrants arriving at suburban stations, Woodstock will vote Tuesday on fines for unauthorized drop-offs

$10,000 fine plus $750 per passenger to be levied, similar to plans in other suburbs

Woodstock City Hall as pictured March 3, 2022.

The Woodstock City Council will meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday to discuss changing a local ordinance to discourage bus companies from dropping off unscheduled busloads of asylum-seekers.

Mayor Mike Turner told the Northwest Herald earlier this week that the city planned to have a special meeting to discuss the ordinance.

The meeting agenda, which was released Friday afternoon, has the proposed ordinance as the only item.

In city documents, officials mentioned people who have traveled from the U.S.-Mexico border recently being dropped off at train stations in the suburbs of Chicago.

The situation appears to have intensified after Chicago passed an ordinance restricting migrant drop-offs – although most asylum-seekers arriving at suburban Metra stations have made their way by train into Chicago, which is the goal of most public officials in McHenry County.

“In numerous circumstances, these bus companies are dropping these individuals off after the last train of the night has left and, thus, these individuals – including children – are left in a dangerous and life-threatening situation of surviving in potential subfreezing weather,” according to the Woodstock documents.

Woodstock’s proposed ordinance is very similar to McHenry’s, which was approved Friday night.

If approved, the Woodstock ordinance would apply to commercial vehicles with 10 or more passengers, but it excludes school buses, vehicles with a publicly available schedule posted in advance and vehicles that are open to the public if they pay a fare.

The ordinance would require bus drop-offs to have an application submitted five days in advance, and applicants would be required to report where people who are dropped off initially were picked up.

The application also would require the names, addresses and phone numbers of people who will be responsible for caring for the passengers once they are dropped off in the city, among other information.

The city would levy fines of $10,000 and $750 per passenger for violating the ordinance, in addition to impounding the vehicle until there is a hearing or the owner pays $1,000 to get it back.

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