PHILADELPHIA– Another bus carrying migrants from Texas arrived in Philadelphia Monday morning, less than a week since the first bus was dispatched from the Lone Star State.
The bus stopped at the 30th Street station with 46 people on board who were seeking asylum, city officials told Action News.
Many of them were transported to a welcoming facility on E. Luzerne Street in North Philadelphia.
The city said Texas officials have not coordinated with them “despite a direct request to do so from the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management.”
They said they didn’t know about any other buses planned.
Chopper 6 above the crime scene showed Philadelphia police officers and other city officials near SEPTA buses in front of the station.
Last Wednesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent a bus carrying 28 asylum seekers from Del Rio to Philadelphia. They were placed on SEPTA buses upon arrival.
Lawyers, who greeted them with coats and blankets when they arrived before dawn on a cold, rainy morning, said the families and individuals were from Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Cuba. The city and several nonprofit groups stood ready to provide food, temporary housing, and other services.
Many of the passengers were bussed to a reception center in Juniata Park for further investigation and to discuss the move.
“In general, people feel relieved. We want them to know that they have a home here,” said Philadelphia City Council member Helen Gym, who escorted several of the migrants onto a second bus that took them to a reception center.
Among the migrants was a 10-year-old girl suffering from dehydration and a high fever who was taken to a hospital for treatment.
“There is a 10-year-old who is completely dehydrated. It’s one of the more inhuman aspects that they would put a kid who’s now dehydrated with a fever (on the bus) with a very high fever,” Gym said.
Abbott, a Republican, announced last week the city would be added to the list of destinations for migrants who are transporting thousands of Texas migrants from the US-Mexico border to Democrat-run cities. The news came a week after Abbott easily won re-election.
Texas has taken more than 300 busloads of migrants to the streets since April, sometimes five in a day, on unannounced trips to cities like New York, Chicago and Washington, DC. The trips have cost Texas about $26 million, according to Nim Kidd, chief of the Texas Department of Emergency Management.
New York Mayor Eric Adams has accused Abbott’s office of not being willing to coordinate to help them schedule arrivals. Kidd, whose agency monitors departures, said local NGOs are in touch with colleagues elsewhere.
“We have full confidence that the NGOs that we work with are communicating with the NGOs at the locations where these buses are being delivered,” Kidd told lawmakers last week.
US officials stopped more than 2 million illegal border crossings in the last fiscal year, a record high that reflects deteriorating economic and political conditions in some countries. In the fiscal year ended September 30, migrants were stopped at the US border 2.38 million times, up 37% from 1.73 million times a year earlier.
Supporters in Philadelphia who welcomed the group of 23 adults and five children last week said it was not clear how long they had been out. One said the journey would normally take around 40 hours.
“The children are afraid, they are exhausted, they are tired,” said Emilio Buitrago of the non-profit Casa de Venezuela. “They’re going to go to a place… where they’re going to have comfortable, warm beds with a blanket and warm food. From there we will work on the resettlement.”
Some people were met by relatives almost immediately, while others made plans to reunite with family or friends in nearby states. Only one adult and one infant were expected to remain in town, officials said. Three others got off the bus before it reached Philadelphia.
Abbott has sent the buses to Democrat-run cities to highlight what he calls the Biden administration’s inaction to address the migrant push. In total, he has sent more than 13,000 migrants abroad since April.
Critics condemned the practice as a political stunt, but voters rewarded Abbott with a record-breaking third term as Texas governor in his race against Democrat Beto O’Rourke. Abbott made a series of tough immigration measures the centerpiece of his campaign.
According to AP VoteCast, a comprehensive poll of nearly 3,400 voters in the state, nearly 6 in 10 voters in Texas supported Abbott’s decision to send migrants to northern cities.
In a statement last week, Abbott’s office said that Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has “long celebrated and campaigned for refuge city status, making the city an ideal addition to the Texas drop-off list.”
Kenney, a Democrat, was usually blunt.
“It is sad and outrageous that Governor Abbott and his administration continue to implement their cruel and racist policies, using immigrant families, including children, as pawns to shamelessly enforce their distorted political agenda,” he said at a news conference last Wednesday.
Since the spring, Arizona has sent 70 buses carrying more than 2,500 migrants to the nation’s capital, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey’s office said, citing statistics through mid-November. And Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, another Republican, has flown migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, a vacation island in Massachusetts.
Philadelphia had been planning such a day for several months, working with more than a dozen local organizations to provide shelters, emergency medical screening, food, water, language translation and more for migrants. The city has also welcomed waves of Ukrainians, Afghans and others in recent years.
The people arriving from Texas are all in the country legally while they seek asylum, Kenney said.
“It is our duty to welcome and support these people as they face the most difficult times in their lives,” Kenney said. “At its core, this is a humanitarian crisis that began with instability and violence in South and Central America and is being accelerated by the political dynamics in our own country.”
The city said more information about the latest batch of asylum seekers will be released as it becomes available.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.