21st and 22nd buses carrying migrants from Texas arrive in downtown Los Angeles

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Wednesday, October 4, 2023
21st, 22nd buses carrying migrants from Texas arrive in downtown LA
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Two more buses carrying migrants arrived in downtown Los Angeles from Texas, marking the 21st and 22nd such arrivals since June.

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Two more buses carrying migrants arrived in downtown Los Angeles from Texas on Tuesday, marking the 21st and 22nd such arrivals since June.

Seventy-one migrants were onboard the two buses. They were originally from Guatemala, Cuba, Nicaragua, Colombia, Iran, Mexico and Venezuela.

Last week, when three busloads with 109 migrants arrived on Friday, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass noted that "Governor (Greg) Abbott continues to put vulnerable lives in jeopardy with limited food and water on multi-day bus journeys to Los Angeles."

On X, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights confirmed the arrival of 27 asylum-seekers Saturday with no children. It did not specify from which nations they had come.

While the collective expected 109 migrants to arrive Friday, it only assisted 65, citing that some of the migrants may have been picked up by family members or sponsors, or some left immediately upon their arrival at Union Station.

Of the 65 migrants, 16 were children and there were 35 family-units, meaning migrants who traveled with a spouse, partner, a child or children. Additionally, 36 were female and 29 were male.

According to the CHIRLA, which is a member of the L.A. Welcomes Collective, a network of nonprofit, faith groups and city and county services that respond to the arrival of migrant buses, a third of all migrants arriving in Los Angeles by bus have been children.

Another bus carrying migrants from Texas made it to Los Angeles Friday, the 15th arrival since June, and some groups say many of them are sharing chilling stories of their journeys.

"When migrants arrive in California -- more than 434,000 have arrived in California since 2019 -- we receive them, integrate them into society, and they in turn contribute positively to our way of life. The Golden State is an immigrant state and that will not change," CHIRLA wrote on X.

The Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice, another member of the collective, wrote on X they learned of two of Friday's buses early Friday morning. The lack of information resulted in "stretching our resources for greeting people with dignity and respect, helping them reunite with family and connect with sponsors," according to CLUE Justice.

"It is abhorrent and cruel of Gov. Abbott to send human beings who are tired, hungry and yearning for a safe haven on a 30-hour bus ride without regard for their care, journey or destination," CHIRLA wrote on X. "It is clear he is trying to disrupt our efforts, but we will persevere."

Jorge-Mario Cabrera, director of communications for CHIRLA, told City News Service since June a third, 35% of migrants arriving on buses from Texas are children, which is one of many reasons the collective condemns Abbot's actions.

Cabrera also noted some "folks (migrants) told us that L.A. was not their destination. They were just told to get on that bus." Many had not eaten in three days, he added.

The collective usually gets tips hours ahead from volunteers, organizations or from good Samaritans about the arrival of a bus. The route of buses from Brownsville are easier to predict, Cabrera said, but when they are sent from different cities like Del Rio, it's "difficult to guess when they'll arrive."

The collective heard about Friday's buses somewhat late, yet the collective immediately took action as they conducted a "rapid response, met migrants at the bus station and brought them to the receiving site" at St. Anthony's Croatian Catholic Church in downtown Los Angeles.

Migrants received a medical check up, and no one was in need of serious medical attention. Many of them were anxious, hungry and exhausted, yet looking forward to the next leg of their journey -- getting to prove their asylum claim.

Cabrera reiterated the collective will support them with basic needs as migrants are met by their family or sponsors.

Cabrera said he hopes the buses will slow down and stop altogether because Gov. Abbott is using migrants as "political pawns" without regard to their health. But he knows that is less than likely as the political season takes shape.

Texas Gov. Abbott has been orchestrating the trips under Operation Lone Star, saying Texas' border region is "overwhelmed" by immigrants crossing the Mexican border. OLS is a joint operation between the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Military Department along the southern border between Texas and Mexico.

City News Service contributed to this report.