Texas confirms bus sent to Philadelphia: What we know

A bus carrying about 50 people seeking asylum in the United States is expected to arrive in Philadelphia Wednesday morning, according to a statement from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, confirming what Philadelphia officials heard over the weekend.

The effort is part of an ongoing series of unannounced and uncoordinated buses that the Abbott administration began in April.

“Philadelphia will now be a drop-off location,” the statement said. Washington DC was previously the primary destination, although buses were also sent to New York City. and Chicago.

Abbott has incorporated the initiative into his state’s plan to combat what he calls “open borders policies,” and has spent millions of dollars in emergency management funds on the program.

He is primarily targeting so-called “Sanctuary Cities”. Although Philly officials don’t use the term—they prefer “Welcome City”—local immigration policies have aligned with this concept since the early 2010s.

The number of arrests of people trying to enter the United States by land is at an all-time high, according to US Border Patrol data. In the last fiscal year, there were over 2 million arrests on the country’s southwestern border, although some people have been arrested more than once for repeated attempts — at least 27%, the CBP estimates.

Here’s what we know about the bus reportedly coming to Philly.

It is scheduled to arrive at the 30th Street station

Although there was no exact time, Abbott’s statement indicated that people on the bus would be dropped off at the William H. Gray III 30th Street Station.

The bus could be the first in line because, the statement said, it “represents the departure of the first group of migrants” to Philadelphia. At one point, 10 buses were arriving in NYC every day.

The city is ready to welcome newcomers

Philadelphia officials have been planning this for months, spokesman Kevin Lessard said made clear.

“Since the summer, the city’s Office of Immigration Affairs and the City’s Office of Emergency Management have been preparing for the potential arrival of unplanned migrants,” Lessard said a statement Posted Friday afternoon.

About 52 people are expected, the statement said, and the mayor’s office obtained the information from a community organization in Texas.

The two offices have met with “nearly 15” local organizations since August to plan a response that will include “immediate reception and shelter spaces, emergency screening, food, water and more,” Lessard said.

The bus journey began in Southwest Texas

According to Lessard, the bus started its journey to Philadelphia in Del Rio.

Del Rio, a town on the southwest Texas border, was a permanent border crossing point. In recent months, the Del Rio sector has seen increased crossings compared to other Texas sectors, according to Customs and Border Protection.

Local welcoming organizations will be on hand to help

Aside from shelter, food, water and a health screening, Philly organizations will be on hand to help those arriving by bus.

People likely had plans to go to other places in the country that aren’t Philadelphia, immigration organizers noted.

“Our plan is to help them get where they need to be,” Catherine Miller-Wilson, executive director of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society Pennsylvania, told FOX 29.

Almost 13,000 people were sent out in this way

Reports of people arriving from Texas have not always been confirmed. In late September, news outlets in Texas and Delaware reported that asylum seekers from the San Antonio area were being flown to Georgetown, Delaware, with a stopover in Florida.

The flight did not take place as planned. Delaware officials were expecting asylum seekers, but the flight was diverted to New Jersey and had no migrants on board upon arrival.

However, Texas has generally pursued its bus initiative. The state claims to have bused a total of nearly 13,000 people — in September, the state found over 7,900 were sent to DC; 2,200 to NYC; and 300 to Chicago.