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Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images.
It’s the first migrant bus to arrive since Jan. 7. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images.

Abbott sends migrant bus to Philadelphia, the first since January

31 migrants, including children, arrived at 30th Street Station early Wednesday, May 10, where they were met by immigration advocates and city employees.

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For the first time in nearly four months, a migrant bus sent by Texas Governor Greg Abbott arrived at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station at 6:30 a.m., Wednesday, May 10. It’s the first to arrive in the city since Jan. 7. 

Thirty-one Venezuelan natives, including seven children, were welcomed by city employees as well as a number of immigration advocates and Philly-based immigration organization, the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia. Light jackets and juice boxes were handed out following the group’s arrival.

Several women were headed to the airport to go onto their final destinations, which include Chicago. 

The other 26 migrants headed to the local welcome center to begin the arrangement of pickups and further travel to New York and other nearby cities. The migrants also enjoyed a hot meal for the first time since their journey first began on Monday afternoon, May 8. 

Arrivals have legal permission to be in the country, with most if not all, seeking asylum. 

Abbott’s anti-immigration initiative — and response to President Joe Biden’s lack of action at the southern border — is part of an over two-year effort that consists of rounding up those who enter his state from Mexico, and chartering buses for them to be sent to Democratic cities in the North. 

Chicago, New York, and D.C. have received the most migrants, and as a result, have acknowledged for months their inability to receive any additional migrants, citing bed shortages and lack of resources. 

Abbott sent over 16,000 migrants in 2022. Mayors in Washington and New York had to declare states of emergency as a result of the overwhelming number of arrivals. 

The last bus arrival in Philly in January marked the city’s 19th arrival that winter over a stretch of seven weeks that first began with an initial bus shortly before Thanksgiving, on Nov. 16. During that time, over 800 migrants arrived in Philly, but all have since moved on to other cities to join family. 

The city’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Office of Emergency Management has been the principal party involved with coordinating with community organizations including Juntos, HIAS Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition, and Nationalities Service Center, in regards to new arrivals. 

Further anxiety concerning the border has only grown worse as Thursday, May 11 marks the end of Title 42, a Trump-era pandemic policy that let officials reject migrants under health guidelines. 

A spokesperson for Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s office said officials are preparing for “an influx” of migrant buses as a result of Thursday’s court-ordered lift on the policy. 

It’s not a good sign for the affected northern cities as Biden told reporters on Tuesday that the U.S.-Mexico border would be “chaotic for a while” once Title 42 expired, with over 500 active-duty troops arriving to bolster security. 

With the Trump-era policy on the way out, the U.S. is implementing a new set of policies created to crack down harder on illegal crossings while offering migrants a legal path into the country if they apply online through a government app, have a sponsor, and pass background checks.

While the administration said they were working swiftly to have it in place by Thursday, Biden told reporters “it remains to be seen.” 

“It’s going to be chaotic for a while,” he continued. 

Biden’s comments followed a guarded message from earlier that Tuesday, delivered by White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre to reporters, concerning the administration’s plans for the end of the policy. 

“We believe we have a robust process to deal with what is going to occur after Title 42 lifts,” Jean-Pierre said at the daily briefing.

The president also commented on the planned call between he and Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who were to speak on immigration and the fentanyl crisis and also discuss development programs to stop the huge flow of migrants to the U.S. border.

Biden said the pair spoke for nearly an hour and is getting “overwhelming cooperation from Mexico.”

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