PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Dozens of migrants who were seeking asylum by leaving Venezuela have arrived in Philadelphia.
"They've already had a long journey," said Peter Pedimonte, co-director of New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia, a nonprofit that was there to welcome the 31 migrants who arrived on a charter bus Wednesday morning.
New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia received word that the bus of asylum seekers would be arriving at Suburban Station early Wednesday morning from Del Rio, Texas.
It's the 20th bus of migrants to arrive in the city since the governors of Texas and Florida started bussing migrants out of their states and into others.
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"All of the individuals have legal means to be here in the United States," said Christina Hernandez, who is Mayor Jim Kenney's chief of staff. She delivered a message on behalf of the mayor at a press conference at City Hall.
"Many are seeking asylum and have demonstrated that they face real dangers of being harmed in their homeland," added Hernandez.
Migrants have flooded U.S. borders anticipating the end of Title 42. The Trump-era policy was started during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a controversial move, Title 42 allows US officials to quickly expel many migrants. It ends Thursday.
"With Title 42 being lifted, we were expecting more buses," said Pedimonte.
Most of the migrants who arrived Wednesday morning were taken to the city's Welcome Center in Juniata Park where they received food, showers and resources. Many were made possible by the city's collaboration with community organizations.
"Our power is drawn from that inter-agency collaboration and support. We each own expertise in different functional areas (and) have different resources," said Dominick Mireles, director of the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management.
About 950 migrants have been bussed to Philadelphia since November, with about 900 of them choosing not to stay.
"They have moved on rather quickly to other cities. Predominately to New York, Boston, Washington DC, Chicago," said Caroline Cruz with the Philadelphia Office of Immigrant Affairs.
The roughly 50 migrants who stayed have been welcomed by Mayor Kenney. He greeted asylum-seekers Wednesday morning as they arrived at the Welcome Center. His chief of staff says Kenney is committed to making Philadelphia "the most welcoming inclusive city in the nation."
"For those of you arriving in Philadelphia today," said Hernandez, "please know that you are welcomed here."