HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — The number of migrants pleading for asylum is growing every day at the U.S.-Mexico border as Title 42 is set to end next Wednesday.
The video above is from a previous report.
The influx of people has overwhelmed the El Paso area, with buses leaving around the clock to transport migrants to surrounding areas like Houston.
ABC13 was there Thursday morning as a daily bus of 52 migrants arrived at the Houston Transfer Center from El Paso. The center, which opened in October and is funded by FEMA, serves as a temporary stop for those authorized by the U.S. government to seek asylum. It is operated by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
“The migrants that we’re seeing are recent arrivals within maybe the last 24 hours. Our stop is a place for them to take a shower, have a meal,” Karina Hernandez, who is the director of the Houston Transfer Center, said.
She added, “We are helping them with transfers to their court destinations where they have sponsors, family members, and friends. We do intake, ensure they have all the proper documentation from Homeland Security, and we help with facilitating transportation, which may be a flight or a Greyhound bus trip.”
Erick Latino is one of those migrants. He can’t help but get emotional when thinking about the treacherous journey he made from Nicaragua to the U.S. The 29-year-old said over the past month, he survived being on a boat that capsized and was left stranded by his uncle in Mexico. It’s all for a chance to provide for his struggling family back home.
“My trip was just a total disaster,” Latino said in Spanish. “But our government is really bad, and we have no other option, but to migrate to another country so we can have a better life. We do not have jobs. We do not have money.”
While 19-year-old Alexander Said just met Latino, both share similar adversities during their trek from Nicaragua. Said recalled that while traveling on a bus in Guatemala, a motorcyclist shot at his group of travelers. He expressed how he couldn’t believe that he was able to survive the attack.
“God was the one who saved us from that shooting. We could only cover our heads while it was happening,” Said told ABC13 in Spanish.
Both Latino and Said shared that they will remain in Houston for the time being to work and save up money to help their family back home. They hope to eventually make their way to New York to reunite with loved ones already here in the U.S.
“Now, I am more at peace, and I feel proud to be here and accomplish this despite the difficulties I faced,” Latino said.
“We have an opportunity, and we have to take advantage of it because there are many who were left behind, and they would have wanted to experience this,” Said expressed.
Hernandez said the Houston Transfer Center was not something her organization expected or originally budgeted for. They are currently awaiting confirmation from FEMA for more funding to run their operations.
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