DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) – Two more buses carrying migrants arrived in downtown Los Angeles from Texas on Tuesday, marking the 21st and 22nd such buses since June.
There were 71 migrants on board the two buses. They originally came from Guatemala, Cuba, Nicaragua, Colombia, Iran, Mexico and Venezuela.
Last week, as three busloads of 109 migrants arrived on Friday, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass noted that “Governor (Greg) Abbott continues to put vulnerable lives at risk with limited food and water on multi-day bus trips to Los Angeles To be available.”
On Saturday, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights confirmed the arrival of 27 asylum seekers without children. It was not specified which nations they came from.
While the collective expected 109 migrants to arrive Friday, it provided assistance to only 65, noting that some of the migrants may have been picked up by family members or sponsors or some may have left immediately after arriving at Union Station.
Of the 65 migrants, 16 were children and there were 35 family units, i.e. migrants who traveled with a spouse, partner, or one or more children. In addition, 36 were women and 29 men.
According to CHIRLA, which is a member of the LA Welcomes Collective, a network of nonprofit faith communities and city and county ministries that respond to migrant bus arrivals, a third of all migrants arriving by bus in Los Angeles were children.
“When migrants arrive in California – more than 434,000 have arrived in California since 2019 – we welcome them, integrate them into society, and they in turn contribute positively to our way of life. The Golden State is an immigration state, and that will not change,” wrote CHIRLA on X.
The clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice, another member of the collective, wrote on X that they learned early Friday morning about two buses on Friday. According to CLUE Justice, the lack of information resulted in “overstretching our resources to greet people with dignity and respect, help them reunite with their family, and connect with sponsors.”
“It is despicable and cruel of Governor Abbott to send people who are tired, hungry and longing for a safe haven on a 30-hour bus ride with no regard for their care, journey or destination,” CHIRLA wrote on X “It’s clear he’s trying to disrupt our efforts, but we will persevere.”
Jorge-Mario Cabrera, CHIRLA’s communications director, told City News Service as of June third that 35% of migrants arriving by bus from Texas are children, which is one of many reasons the collective condemns Abbot’s actions.
Cabrera also noted that some “people (migrants) told us that LA was not their destination. They were just told to get on this bus.” Many had not eaten for three days, he added.
The collective typically receives notice from volunteers, organizations or good Samaritans about a bus’s arrival hours in advance. The buses’ route from Brownsville is easier to predict, Cabrera said, but if they are sent from different cities like Del Rio, it is “hard to guess when they will arrive.”
The collective found out about the buses a little late on Friday, but the collective took immediate action by “conducting a rapid response, picking up migrants at the bus station and taking them to the reception site” at St. Anthony’s Croatian Catholic Church in downtown Los Angeles brought.
The migrants underwent medical examinations and none required serious medical attention. Many of them were scared, hungry and exhausted, but were still looking forward to the next stage of their journey – proving their asylum claim.
Cabrera reiterated that if the migrants are cared for by their families or sponsors, the collective will support them in meeting their basic needs.
Cabrera said he hopes the buses will slow down and stop altogether because Gov. Abbott is using migrants as “political pawns” without regard for their health. But he knows that is less likely as the political season takes shape.
Texas Gov. Abbott organized the trips as part of Operation Lone Star, saying the Texas border region is “overwhelmed” by immigrants crossing the Mexican border. OLS is a joint operation of the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Military Department along the southern Texas-Mexico border.
City News Service contributed to this report.