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Texas sends more migrants to LA

41 asylum-seekers are loaded onto bus at Mexican border by Jack Herrera Los Angeles Times (TNS) | July 3, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.

Another bus carrying dozens of migrants from Texas arrived at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon, courtesy of the governor and taxpayers of the Lone Star State.

The 41 asylum-seekers arrived about 12:40 p.m. and were received by the L.A. Welcomes Collective -- a network of nonprofit, faith and immigrant rights groups, officials said in a statement. The migrants are from Belize, Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

"With great love and dignity, we extend a warm welcome to our newly arrived brothers and sisters in Los Angeles," said Martha Arevalo, executive director of American Resource Center-Los Angeles (CARECEN). "We stand ready to ensure they receive accurate legal information, that they know the next steps in their case, and that all their urgent legal needs are met."

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said in a statement that her office learned about the bus on Friday and immediately began coordinating with the collective as well as city and county departments to assist the migrants upon their arrival. "The City of Los Angeles believes in treating everyone with respect and dignity and will do so," Bass said.

The migrants were recently paroled by the Border Patrol and voluntarily boarded the bus in Brownsville, Texas, for the journey, officials said. This is the second bus to arrive from the Texas-Mexico border in just over two weeks, after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Los Angeles as the latest Democratic-run city to which his state will bus migrants.

Since April 2022, Texas has bused more than 22,000 migrants to Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Denver. The first bus to LA, carrying 42 migrants from McAllen, arrived June 14.

At the time, local activists formed the L.A. Welcomes Collective to assist those migrants. In addition to CARECEN, the collective includes the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE-LA), Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project and Immigrant Defenders Law Center (ImmDef).

On Friday, members of that coalition were alerted by the city of Brownsville that a second bus was on its way, and aid workers immediately began preparing to greet the passengers and provide them with food, clothing, shelter as well as health and legal services.

Guerline Jozef, the executive director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, said that the Alliance had worked with partners in Texas to ensure that everyone boarding the bus had either family, court dates or both waiting for them in Los Angeles. She said she had been assured that everyone making the trip was given multiple options for meals and plenty of water.

All passengers voluntarily boarded the state-funded buses from Texas, officials said. Abbott has said that the buses are a form of protest against Democrats' immigration policies, but many migrants have been eager to accept the free ride to cities where they could reunite with family and loved ones. This opportunity has led immigrant aid organizations along the Texas border to collaborate with the busing program, even if they refrain from endorsing Abbott's political message.

"The Haitian Bridge Alliance absolutely condemns Governor Abbott's policies and [his practice of] using the lives of extremely vulnerable people...for political games," Jozef said. However, she said she recognized that, for many migrants, the buses are an opportunity to reunite with family.

The Los Angeles City Council recently approved a motion, referred to by council members as a "sanctuary city" law, that would essentially codify existing policies around the use of city resources for federal immigration enforcement, including a 2017 executive directive issued by then-Mayor Eric Garcetti.

In June, 36 migrants were sent to Sacramento on chartered flights arranged under the direction of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican candidate for president who has also been critical of President Joe Biden's immigration policies. The migrants from Central and South America were voluntarily driven by bus from Texas to New Mexico, where they boarded flights to California.

Documents carried by the migrants showed that the flights were arranged through the Florida Division of Emergency Management and that they were part of the state's program to relocate migrants, mostly from Texas, to other states. Their transportation was paid for by the state of Florida.

Print Headline: Texas sends more migrants to LA


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