Wilmette, News

Migrants board trains in Wilmette after bus drivers reportedly refuse to go to Chicago

Two more buses transporting migrants arrived in Wilmette on Thursday afternoon, according to Village Manager Mike Braiman.

Wilmette police helped the passengers board trains to Chicago from the town’s Metra station, 722 Green Bay Road, around 2:30 p.m.

A few days earlier, on Dec. 31, three buses carrying migrants showed up to the Wilmette’s CTA station at Linden Avenue and authorities redirected the buses to Chicago’s welcome and processing center. According to Braiman Thursday’s buses also first stopped at Wilmette’s CTA station, but this time, the drivers refused to take their passengers into the city.

The buses were instead escorted to the town’s Metra station, where Braiman said the migrants could board trains destined for Union Station and a “safer and reliable process,” unlike CTA destinations.

“Our concern is to make sure that individuals on these buses can safely get to where they need to be for temporary shelter, food and the support that they need,” Braiman said.

The Village of Wilmette is not at this time considering additional measures to regulate migrant buses. Braiman said the arrivals have not overburdened the Village or its staff.

Over the past year, Texas officials have shipped more than 30,000 asylum seekers from the border to the Chicago area without any communication, says a press release from the office of Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson. Johnson said in the Dec. 31 statement that the city’s “shelter system” of 27 facilities “has reached capacity with more than 15,000 asylum seekers currently under the city’s care.”

The statement, a united effort with New York Mayor Eric Adams and Denver Mayor Mike Johnston, was also a plea for more federal funding and resources to support the migrants.

Following the City of Chicago’s pledge in November to crack down on bus operators that drop off migrants, the buses have instead showed up in suburbs like Wilmette that have access to the city.

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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