6th bus of asylum seekers arrives in Philadelphia

It is not yet clear at this time how many people were on this bus.

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Monday, December 5, 2022
6th bus of asylum seekers arrives in Philadelphia
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About 52 people were on the bus from Texas that pulled up to 30th Street Station just before 6 a.m.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A sixth bus carrying people seeking asylum in the United States, including children, arrived in Philadelphia on Monday morning.

About 52 people were on the bus from Texas that pulled up to 30th Street Station just before 6 a.m.

People could be seen hugging after they got off the bus.

About 32 people from the group were placed on a SEPTA bus and were taken to a welcoming facility in North Philadelphia.

Philadelphia's Office of Emergency Management said officials in Texas still refuse to coordinate with the city about the buses.

Philly Welcomes Asylum Seekers

Last Wednesday, 49 people arrived in Philadelphia, including seven children, from Del Rio, Texas.

"Thank God we're here. Everyone here has helped us out and treated us well. Thank God we're in this country," said Gary, a 28-year-old man from Nicaragua, who was on the bus last week.

The group of 49 was taken to a welcoming facility on E. Luzerne Street in North Philadelphia, officials said.

"They have everything inside. They have food, they have medical; they have clothes," said volunteer Nancy Pesantez of Ecuador.

SEE ALSO: 2 additional buses of asylum-seekers from Texas arrive at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia

Volunteers, who are also immigrants themselves, understand the grueling process and were working hard to make the families feel comfortable.

"Some tough things I heard were, 'I haven't showered in a week. I haven't brushed my teeth in days. I'm cold. I'm tired. Can I lay down?'" said Heidi Roux with Immigrant Rights Action in Bucks County.

Some traveled for two months on foot and by bus to finally make it to Philadelphia to connect with relatives.

"They all have tremendous stories of their journey that I wish people could hear because it really does humanize the experience of what they're going through, what they're fleeing and why they're here," said Roux.

The first bus, carrying 28 passengers, arrived on Wednesday, Nov. 16. A second bus followed on Monday, Nov. 21 with 46 people. On Friday, Nov. 25, two buses carrying 71 people arrived in Philadelphia.

Each time, several groups of volunteers were waiting for their arrival.

At the time of the first bus' arrival in Philadelphia, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, released a statement criticizing 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."

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."

Texas has put more than 300 busloads of migrants on the road since April, sometimes five in a day, on unannounced journeys to cities including New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. The trips have cost Texas about $26 million, according to Nim Kidd, chief of the Texas Department of Emergency Management.

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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The Associated Press contributed to this report.