Buffalo Grove passes ordinance restricting migrant drop-offs

Buffalo Grove joined other suburbs in passing an ordinance to deter unscheduled drop-offs of asylum seekers from the southern border.

The village board on Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of a measure requiring a “complete and accurate application” for a bus stop, with no less than five days notice.

The bus driver would have to provide a detailed plan spelling out how the people being dropped off would be cared for, housed and fed, either temporarily or permanently.

Ordinance violations could trigger fines of $300 to $1,000 per occurrence, as well as the impounding of the bus.

“There is nothing political about this ordinance, as much as people may want that to be the case,” Village President Eric Smith said. “The decision to adopt this ordinance is rooted in care.”

Smith said dropping off passengers in the village without prior provisions for their proper housing and care can put their safety at risk and have deadly consequences for passengers during adverse weather conditions.

Neither the Buffalo Grove nor the Prairie View train station in the village have Pace bus or Metra rail service on the weekend. Passenger trains operate from 5:57 a.m. to 4:16 p.m. on weekdays only.

If a bus were to drop off “upwards of 50 passengers in an evening or a weekend, there will be no transportation to a designated landing zone,” said Smith, who added that he discussed the issue with Village Manager Dane Bragg and U.S. Congressman Brad Schneider Tuesday.

Bragg said the ordinance also gives emergency services the tools to help passengers who might need medical care.

“It shows compassion that our village has for people,” including “people that have traveled a long way and could be just randomly dropped off at any street at any time, with no blankets or linens or towels or money or food,” Trustee Joanne Johnson said.

Members of the public spoke up both in favor of and against the ordinance.

Northbrook resident Lee Goodman, who works with the immigrant advocacy group Witness at the Border, told trustees, “This ordinance is 100% national origin discrimination.”

However, Buffalo Grove resident Daniel Vishny said the ordinance is not national origin discrimination, telling Goodman, “One thing that you have refused to bring up, and it’s very convenient, is these people are entering the country illegally.”

Northbrook resident Nancy Goodman, however, said that the migrants are here legally as asylum seekers.

Buffalo Grove Village President Eric Smith
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