A third bus of immigrants arrived in Philadelphia from Texas early Friday morning, with a fourth one expected soon after, to bring a total of 81 more migrants into the sanctuary city as part of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's efforts to send asylum-seeking immigrants to cities led by Democrats.
The first bus included two children among the approximately 45 passengers, who arrived at the city's 30th Street Station just after 6 a.m., reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.
City and immigration leaders transferred the arrivals to a city bus and took them to a city-run welcome center in North Philadelphia.
Over the past 10 days, about 150 immigrants will have been sent to Philadelphia, arriving at the bus station in what Mayor Jim Kenney and other advocates are calling a cheap political stunt.
Blanca Pacheco, the co-director of Peter Pedemonti of New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia, said organizations are coordinating with the city to offer the migrants a safe and warm welcome, and that the arrivals have not yet strained immigrant-assistance organizations.
"I think at some point we will talk to the state government to see how can they support us if the numbers become bigger and [more] people are staying here," Pacheco said Friday.
The migrants being sent to Philadelphia have obtained permission to remain in the United States while they pursue asylum claims in federal courts.
Abbott says he's sent more than 13,000 immigrants into New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.
The Inquirer reports that most of the immigrants who arrived in Philadelphia since Nov. 16, when the first bus arrived, have left the city to connect with family members in other states. They have come to the United States from several other countries, including Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Panama, and Cuba.
Migrants interviewed by the newspaper said their journey came after they were offered a free trip to the sanctuary cities, with the announcement coming over a loudspeaker in a Del Rio, Texas border facility.
Advocates and the city of Philadelphia have been offering the migrants logistical support, including helping them to get in touch with their relatives. People staying in the city are being connected to legal services and housing, and officials say they'll seek aid from federal and state sources to support the operation.
Earlier this week, the second busload of migrants arrived from Texas in Philadelphia after city officials asked Abbott's administration to coordinate when sending busloads of people to the city as part of his efforts to send asylum-seeking immigrants to cities led by Democrats, reports ABC News.
In a letter dated Nov. 17 and obtained by ABC, Philadelphia Emergency Management Director Dominick Mireles asked Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd, the state official who is executing Abbott's busing program, to "uphold a core tenet of our shared profession: collaboration."
The letter was sent a day after the first bus arrived in Philadelphia from Del Rio, transporting 28 migrants to a Philadelphia transit station.
Mireles wrote that the bus of asylum seekers not only took Philadelphia by surprise but that a child aboard required emergency medical care upon arrival.
A city spokesperson told ABC that as of earlier this week, Texas officials had not responded to their letter, and that despite the request, another bus of migrants arrived in Philadelphia Monday, bringing in 46 more people.
"We successfully assisted asylum seekers from Texas last week, and we continued to do so today," Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said on Twitter. "These folks are looking for a brighter and more hopeful life in America. We're proud to welcome them and provide them with the services and support they deserve."
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