Illinois Community Introduces Harsh Fines for Unscheduled Buses in Wake of Venezuelan Migrant Drop-off in Kankakee

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MANHATTAN, Illinois — Following a recent incident in Kankakee where a bus dropped off Venezuelan migrants under the false pretense of being in Chicago, the Village of Manhattan has escalated its measures against unscheduled intercity buses. 

Mayor Mike Adrieansen announced an executive order imposing a $750 fine per passenger for operators unloading passengers without official approval. This move aims to prevent similar situations and ensure the safety and well-being of migrants and residents.

The Kankakee incident, occurring on December 21, involved 30 to 40 Venezuelan migrants being erroneously left at a local gas station. This group, misled to believe they had arrived in Chicago, were without essential resources. Law enforcement, including Kankakee Police, County Sheriff’s Office, and State Police, coordinated efforts to safely transport these individuals to Midway Airport and provide assistance.

Kankakee County Sheriff Mike Downey announced Friday he has filed an Emergency Declaration with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, citing limited resources to handle such unexpected arrivals. The Manhattan initiative, closely following this incident, reflects a growing concern across Illinois towns about the unplanned arrival of migrants and the strain it puts on local resources.

Mayor Adrieansen emphasized that the policy in Manhattan is not just about penalties but also about coordinating responses to manage such situations effectively. The Village Board plans to discuss further regulatory measures in their upcoming meeting, aiming to ensure comprehensive management of migrant arrivals and intercity bus operations.

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