Most migrants in LA from Texas made harsh journey to flee violence in home countries, groups say

Another bus carrying migrants from Texas made it to Los Angeles Friday, the 15th arrival since June.

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Saturday, September 23, 2023
Most migrants arriving in LA made harsh journey to flee violence
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.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Another bus carrying migrants from Texas made it to Los Angeles Friday, the 15th arrival since June, and local groups are working hard to get them the help they need.

The group of 45 people arrived in downtown L.A. around 9:35 a.m.

Organizations like the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) are among those that have played a major role when responding to the arrival of migrant buses. However, sometimes, it hasn't been easy.

"It's always a challenge in terms of resources," said CARECEN Los Angeles Legal Director Camila Alvarez. "Every time there's a new bus, we're constantly in preparation mode in terms of making sure that we have enough food, we have enough blankets, and we have enough toys for the children."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has been orchestrating the trips under Operation Lone Star, saying Texas' border region is "overwhelmed'' by immigrants crossing the Mexican border and blamed President Joe Biden. 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.

Mayor Karen Bass has complained that Abbott's office does not share enough information with Los Angeles about these trips.

READ ALSO | LA Mayor Bass 'concerned' for 'what could come' following TX governor sending '1st bus' of migrants

Meanwhile, inside St. Anthony's Croatian Catholic Church, groups are caring for the migrants, which include people from Venezuela, Mexico, and Nicaragua. More than half of them are children.

"They've been on a bus for 26 hours, so they arrived here, of course, hungry and tired," said Lindsay Toczylowski, the executive director of the Immigrant Defenders Law Center. "We're giving them a minute to catch their breath, relax, and then of course, providing them with resources that will help them get them to their final destinations."

As the migrants settle into their new reality, chilling stories of their journeys are being heard.

Some people who spoke with them told ABC7 some had to travel through jungles and harsh conditions - and many were afraid the entire way.

"It's just amazing that these people are still alive here," said Rev. Walter Contreras with Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice. "Especially with small little kids, having to be traveling for two months through jungles and rivers, and one particular family being kidnapped in Mexico."

In June, the Los Angeles City Council approved a motion seeking to formally establish the city as a sanctuary city. As more buses are expected to arrive in L.A., groups say they're keeping they're staying hyper focused on their mission.

"The reason that they're here is that they're fleeing," said Alvarez. "They're fleeing some type of violence in their countries. A majority of them will be applying for asylum and seeking lawful protection here because of their fear because of something that happened to them, and the reasons that they cannot go back to their home countries."

City News Service, Inc. contributed to this report.