Saturday, May 25, 2024

A 10th bus of asylum seekers arrives in L.A. from Texas

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A bus carrying 39 people seeking asylum arrived at Union Station from Texas on Saturday morning, the 10th such bus Gov. Greg Abbott has dispatched to Los Angeles since June.

The group of migrants are asylum seekers from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela, according to a statement from the L.A. Welcomes Collective, a network of nonprofit organizations, faith groups and city and county services.

“They arrived obviously tired, exhausted after a long trip, but none seem emaciated or ill,” said Jorge-Mario Cabrera, a spokesman for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, a member of the collective. “They are desperate to get off the bus, but they are not distraught.”

Upon arrival at Union Station, the passengers were directed onto L.A. city buses that carried them to Bishop Mora Salesian High School in Boyle Heights.

“The City has continued to work with City Departments, the County, and a coalition of nonprofit organizations, in addition to our faith partners, to execute a plan set in place earlier this year,” said Zach Seidl, a spokesperson for Mayor Karen Bass, in a written statement. “As we have before, when we became aware of the bus yesterday, we activated our plan.”

Once at the high school they were met by representatives of the L.A. Welcomes Collective, which has been assisting the roughly 400 people sent to L.A. in recent months from Texas under the state’s so-called Operation Lone Star.

The passengers arriving Saturday included 12 families traveling with a total of 21 children, the biggest group of children on any of the buses so far, Cabrera said.

Fortunately, “we had enough toys for them,” he said.

At the high school, the group received legal advice and practical assistance like showers and food. Many have already made contact with family or sponsors in the Los Angeles area whom they will stay with while the legal process for their asylum application plays out, Cabrera said.

“Most of these folks are ready to work. They’re ready to contribute to their community,” he said.

The group arrived less than a week after Texas officials defied cautions against road travel and sent a bus carrying 16 families through a tropical storm to L.A., a decision Bass called “a despicable act beyond politics.”

Since April 2022, Texas has bused more than 33,270 asylum seekers to “sanctuary cities” around the U.S. “to fill the dangerous gaps created by the Biden administration’s refusal to secure our border,” Abbott’s office said in a statement.

Earlier this month, a 3-year-old boy died after becoming ill and losing consciousness on a bus dispatched to Chicago from Texas.

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