AUSTIN (KXAN) — A charter bus carrying 28 migrants arrived Wednesday morning in Philadelphia after Gov. Greg Abbott said it would become the latest city to receive groups of asylum seekers once they’re processed at the Texas-Mexico border.
Since April, the governor said Texas bused more than 13,200 migrants from the state to other cities, including Washington D.C., New York City, and Chicago. He announced Tuesday the first migrant group heading to Philadelphia had departed.
“Since April, Texas’ busing strategy has successfully provided much-needed relief to our border communities overwhelmed by the historic influx of migrants caused by President Biden’s reckless open border policies,” Abbott said in a press release.
Jim Kinney, the mayor of Philadelphia, said at a news conference Wednesday the city quickly set up a welcome center to provide resources and temporary shelter after unexpectedly receiving word of the bus heading its way from Del Rio. He slammed Texas for providing no forewarning, saying he only learned about the bus after seeing Abbott’s press release.
“It’s not just unproductive and disappointing. It’s downright irresponsible and callous to do this unannounced and without coordination, showing blatant disregard for the sanctity of human lives,” Kinney told reporters.
The mayor said city workers and other volunteers greeted the 23 adults and five children who got off the bus once they arrived in Philadelphia early Wednesday morning. Amy Eusebio, the executive director of Philadelphia’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, said they came from several different countries, including Colombia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Panama, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic.
She added most of these asylum seekers had family members pick them up already from Philadelphia, while she said only two plan to stay in the city and await their asylum proceedings. A doctor also shared paramedics took one girl to a local hospital with her parents to seek treatment for unspecified issues.
The governor’s release Tuesday stated Texas will keep sending migrant groups out of the state until the Biden administration “provides Texans and the American people with sustainable border security.”
Since the beginning of the busing strategy in the spring, thousands of migrants have been transported to these sanctuary cities.
Philadelphia’s mayor said the city is preparing to receive more charter buses from Texas in the future. He also described what Abbott is doing as “cruel and racist policies.”
“It always amazes me that politicians, including the governor of Texas, talks ad nauseam about Christian values but displays very little of any,” Jim Kenney added Wednesday.
Immigration experts previously told KXAN once immigrants in the U.S. are processed by the federal government, migrants can stay in America while they wait for a court date to further decide their immigration status.