PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — A bus of migrants from Texas has arrived in Philadelphia.
The bus, believed to be from Del Rio, Texas, arrived at 30th Street Station shortly after 6 a.m. Wednesday.
There were resources on hand awaiting the asylum seekers, including a SEPTA bus.
The migrants made their way from the Texas bus to the SEPTA bus, some wrapped in blankets and others sipping drinks, items provided by various organizations who were at the station for their arrival.
Members of Philadelphia City Council, including Councilmember Helen Gym, were seen greeting the group, which included children.
The migrants will be taken to a shelter in Hunting Park.
Approximately 30 people legally seeking asylum in the United States were on the bus from Texas, but just three passengers listed Pennsylvania as their final destination.
Philadelphia joins Washington, D.C., New York City and Chicago as destinations for asylum seekers being sent out of Texas.
In a statement, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, criticized the Biden administration’s border policies, saying Texas is “overwhelmed by the historic influx of migrants.”
Abbott said Texas will continue to add more sanctuary cities as drop-off locations “until the Biden Administration does its job and provides Texas and the American people with sustainable border security.”
Democratic Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney condemned Abbott’s comments, saying in a statement, “It is truly disgusting to hear today that Governor Abbott and his Administration continue to implement their purposefully cruel policy using immigrant families-including women and children-as pawns to shamelessly push his warped political agenda.”
City officials and local agencies had been preparing for the arrival for several days, even after a statement from Abbott’s office Monday night saying the Lone Star State wasn’t “currently” sending migrants to Philadelphia.
According to the city, roughly half of the 30 arriving individuals are part of family units, and half are solo individuals. Approximately seven children may be on board the bus from Texas.
“It is likely that several individuals may disembark during stops in other states on the trip. Only three individuals have Pennsylvania reported as their final destination, according to the latest information provided by our local partner organization,” said officials.
Among the organizations helping the migrants is New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia.
“We have a good team we’ve been preparing for this for a couple of months, making sure that when they come they’re welcomed and supported and they have what they need,” said Peter Pedemonti, the co-director of New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia.
In total, 15 local community-based organizations and partners will help with immediate reception and shelter space, emergency health screenings and language interpretation.
Groups like HIAS Pennsylvania will be providing the migrants with plenty of resources.
“Some of the materials that we’re going to provide is going to be a map of the United States to show them where Philadelphia is,” said Cathryn Miller-Wilson, the executive director of HIAS Pennsylvania. “We will be providing several ‘know your rights’ sessions in English and Spanish.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP
The City of Philadelphia’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA) and the Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia have launched the Philadelphia Welcoming Fund to allow Philadelphia residents the opportunity to contribute to local efforts to welcome immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers arriving in Philadelphia.
City officials are stressing that monetary donations are the best way to help the arriving migrants.
The funds collected by the Welcoming Fund will be provided to nonprofit organizations in the Philadelphia area that are supporting new arrivals.
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