Saturday, May 18, 2024

Texas sends busload of migrants to Los Angeles

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A busload of migrants, sent by the state of Texas, arrived in Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced the action on social media, saying the transportation of migrants to L.A. was “much-needed relief” for the border.

The group of 42 migrants, including a number of minors, arrived after a 23-hour bus ride without food or water, according to Jorge-Mario Cabrera, director of communications for immigrant rights group CHIRLA.

“Texas’ small border towns remain overwhelmed and overrun by the thousands of people illegally crossing into Texas from Mexico because of President Biden’s refusal to secure the border,” the Republican governor said in a news release. “Los Angeles is a major city that migrants seek to go to, particularly now that its city leaders approved its self-declared sanctuary city status.”

The migrants — 42 people including a number of minors — made a stop at Union Station before being taken to St. Anthony’s Croatian Catholic Church.

Cabrera, of CHIRLA, was at Union Station when they arrived. He said the agency had been were tipped off on Tuesday night about the migrants’ pending arrival. He said they were from from Venezuela, Guatemala, Honduras, and two were of African descent.

There were eight children on the bus, Cabrera said. One Guatemalan migrant who arrived on the bus has a court date scheduled in New York, he added.

“That’s where the cruelty of this process is unbounded,” he said. “That’s why Los Angeles made sure that we were coordinated and prepared to deal with the human beings behind this political charade.”

They arrived at Union Station for a quick bus change before heading to a welcoming center to rest and eat, he said. The group also made attorneys available.

“We just gave them water and a little bit of candy for the children,” he said. “We know that they’re traumatized and they need a number of services.”

The Los Angeles mayor’s office has been leading the response, coordinating with various city departments and advocacy groups. Mayor Karen Bass was in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday for an event but issued a statement, saying the arrival of the migrants “did not catch us off guard.”

“It is abhorrent that an American elected official is using human beings as pawns in his cheap political games,” Bass said in a statement.

“Shortly after I took office, I directed City Departments to begin planning in the event Los Angeles was on the receiving end of a despicable stunt that Republican Governors have grown so fond of,” Bass said, adding that emergency management, police and fire personnel were mobilized before the migrants arrived.

“Los Angeles is not a city motivated by hate or fear and we absolutely will not be swayed or moved by petty politicians playing with human lives,” Bass said.

Angélica Salas, executive director of CHIRLA, told KNBC that her organization had “got wind that a bus from Texas was coming.”

“We cannot control what Texas does or what Florida does,” Salas said. “What we can control is what we do here in Los Angeles and in California and we receive hundreds of thousands of folks here. We’re an immigrant state.”

Salas said she greeted many of the migrants, including “a lot of children,” as they arrived and said they were “very tired.”

Abbott’s announcement comes after two planes carrying migrants arrived in Sacramento with transportation arranged by the state of Florida.

In the first flight, more than a dozen migrants from South America were flown on a chartered jet from New Mexico and dropped off in Sacramento.

Documents carried by the migrants appeared to show that the flight was arranged through the Florida Division of Emergency Management and that it was part of the state’s program to relocate migrants, mostly from Texas, to other states, California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta said. Florida officials later took responsibility for the chartered flights.

Some migrants last week told The Times how contractors working for the state of Florida offered them seats on a private plane to California.

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