Busload of asylum seekers dropped off in Woodstock

City set to vote Tuesday on ordinance designed to discourage such events

Woodstock Train Station, 90 Church St., Woodstock

A busload of asylum seekers was dropped off Saturday afternoon at the Woodstock Metra station, according to a post on Mayor Mike Turner’s Facebook page.

Turner said about 35 people were dropped off about 2:30 p.m. and all the passengers boarded the 3:45 p.m. Metra train for Chicago.

The drop-off comes as Woodstock is set to vote on an ordinance Tuesday designed to discourage such drop-offs. Companies whose vehicles are involved in an unauthorized drop-off will face fines of $10,000 for the vehicle and $750 per passenger. The vehicle will be impounded and it will cost $500 to $1,000 to get it back or until completion of a hearing before the city.

McHenry passed a similar ordinance Friday night.

Saturday’s drop-off is at least the second in McHenry County. A bus with 38 passengers was dropped off Dec. 23 at the Fox River Grove Metra station.

Turner said the ordinance in Woodstock is modeled after Chicago’s.

“It is my firm belief that we should discourage and penalize bus companies who use Woodstock as a dumping ground,” Turner said in the post.

Turner said in the post that the city had developed a plan for what to do if a drop-off occurs. The city opened the train station to provide shelter to the passengers and gave them bottled water and options for transportation to Chicago, according to the post.

“The city of Woodstock does not have the staff, monetary resources or expertise to manage the short- and long-term needs of migrants dropped off buses from out of state,” Turner said in the post.

“The knowledge that these are real people who need help is not lost on me,” Turner said.

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