Nov 17, 2022 - News

Philadelphia welcomes asylum seekers sent by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

A child is seen through a bus window in Philadelphia.

Migrants sent by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott arrive near Philadelphia's 30th Street Station Wednesday. Photo: Joe Lamberti/AP

Many of the asylum seekers who arrived in Philadelphia on a bus from Texas on Wednesday morning were headed to other states, while several may stay, according to city officials and local reports.

Driving the news: Philadelphia welcomed 28 migrants after what Mayor Jim Kenney called an "irresponsible and callous" political stunt by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to ship them to sanctuary cities across the country.

Catch up fast: City officials and immigrant advocacy groups greeted the individuals — many from Colombia, Cuba and the Dominican Republic — around 6am at 30th Street Station.

  • About 20 migrants were shuttled to a city welcome center in North Philadelphia, where they were provided with food, drinks, blankets, coats and space to rest.
  • Many were in the city for only a short time, traveling to states including New York, Connecticut and Maryland, city officials said. Some made arrangements to be picked up by relatives.
  • Few of the travelers were expected to remain in the city, per the Inquirer.

The big picture: Thousands of migrants have been transported from Texas to predominantly Democrat-run cities across the U.S. after Gov. Abbott and other Republican governors sought to challenge President Biden's border policies, Axios' Sareen Habeshian reports.

  • Abbott sent Biden a letter yesterday warning that Texas will be "escalating" its border security, and ordered state agencies to expand Operation Lone Star, a multibillion-dollar effort to tamp down border crossings that includes the busing effort.

Details: The asylum seekers who arrived in Philadelphia were on the bus for days and had received only small, packaged meals, so some arrived hungry and thirsty, city officials said.

  • One child was taken to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for treatment of a fever and dehydration.
  • Philadelphia has set up a welcoming fund and is accepting monetary donations to help the migrants.

What they're saying: Calling diversity one of the city's "greatest assets," Kenney on Wednesday slammed Abbott's administration for failing to notify officials that the migrants were headed to the city.

  • He called Abbott's busing strategy "cruel" and accused him of using the people as political "pawns" in the immigration row with the Biden administration.

The bottom line: Kenney said the city is prepared for the possibility that more buses could arrive from Texas in the coming months.

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