The Village of Northbrook has received inquiries from members of the community regarding Northbrook’s plan should busses carrying people seeking asylum in the United States make their way to Northbrook. This has not yet occurred in our Village, but it could. This is an evolving situation, and this update should help provide our community with information about what is happening in our area; the Village’s role; how state and local leaders are working to address current and future needs; and what people interested in helping can do.
Asylum seekers have been arriving by bus in cities around the US since August 2022. Currently, Illinois has one intake center located in Chicago, which provides healthcare, food, and shelter for asylum seekers. On Wednesday, January 3, 2024, the State of Illinois announced that a second intake center will open in Chicago this month. The State’s intake center will be co-located with Chicago’s bus landing zone.
To control the unpredictable influx of buses arriving at the landing zone, the City of Chicago recently adopted an ordinance with specific bus regulations. However, it appears that arriving bus companies are now working around Chicago’s ordinance by rerouting buses to suburban train stations where asylum seekers make the last leg of the trip to Chicago via rail.
Over the last two weeks, buses have arrived in nearby communities, with passengers either boarding the Metra to make their way into Chicago by train, or the bus (and passengers) were re-directed to the intake center in Chicago. Both scenarios have occurred without incident, regardless of the manner in which the asylum seekers traveled to the intake center.
Northbrook’s Partnership with Cook County
The Village of Northbrook has been working closely with Cook County Commissioner Scott Britton as the Cook County Office of Emergency Management is operating to ensure a smooth transition of asylum seekers to the designated intake center in Chicago. If buses arrive in Northbrook, we will work with Cook County’s Office of Emergency Management to ensure that the buses are redirected to Chicago’s bus landing zone and asylum seekers are received at the intake centers.
While this situation is evolving, Northbrook will continue to collaborate with our local, regional, and state partners in a cooperative approach that facilitates the safe transportation of asylum seekers from Northbrook to designated regional and/or state intake centers.
Residents Who Want to Help
Many of you have asked how you can help asylum seekers, many of whom are children. The City of Chicago has donation opportunities https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/sites/texas-new-arrivals/home/donations.html and volunteer opportunities https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/sites/texas-new-arrivals/home/volunteer.html. Please access the links for details.