Texas Groups Helping Illegal Immigrants are Overwhelmed

Groups in San Antonio that help migrants seeking asylum were overwhelmed over the weekend, when nearly one-thousand immigrants were deposited at the downtown bus depot, and they worry that this is only the start, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.

"There is a caravan in Piedras Negras across from Eagle Pass, where there are 17 hundred people," Antonio Fernandez, head of Catholic Charities of San Antonio says. "There is a caravan of 1,500 to 2,000 people in San Luis Potosí, waiting to go north."

He says there is frustration among groups that assist migrants, because the federal government is giving little warning when border shelters get overwhelmed, and migrants are transported to downtown San Antonio. Instead of planning to help them get to a sponsor family while their immigration case goes forward, he says they're scrambling at the last minute to find places for them to sleep while they wait for a bus or a plane.

Most, he says, are not staying in San Antonio. They're scattered around a country they do not know and many don’t speak the language.

In addition to those caravans, he says the situation in Central America continues to deteriorate.

"When I see the situation in Honduras. When I see the situation in Venezuela. The United States is the place people want to go because of the American Dream."

He says the migrants coming here are in surprisingly good health, seeing the journey they have been on. Most are women and children.

Long term goals are a bigger shelter in San Antonio, so they don’t have to scramble to hotel rooms. The current shelter is nearly always at capacity.

Short term? He says they need kid’s toys. Most families come here with the clothes on their back and kids have not had play time in months.

A teddy bear, he says, goes a long way.

IMAGE: GETTY

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