Almost 500 women and children asylum seekers from Central America are being bused into San Antonio on Monday. They’ve been abruptly released from nearby immigration detention centers.
Immigration officials have not responded to requests for details about this release of asylum seekers and what will happen to other women and children who cross border.
At San Antonio’s Mennonite Church hundreds of women and children from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras stepped off buses with small bags that held their few possessions.
Pastor John Garland says they started arriving Friday night.
“We got some volunteers together and we began setting up our church as an emergency shelter.
A Texas state judge ruled Friday that the Karnes and Dilley detention centers don’t qualify as child care centers. That triggered the mass release. Justin Tullius is the executive director of RAICES, a local refugee assistance group providing food and medical supplies.
“And a place to stay here until they’re able to make arrangements for the next leg of their journey,” Tullius says.
Anna Perez, 37, was among those released from the Dilley center. She says in Spanish that she fled El Salvador to protect her 12-year-old daughter. She says he left because gang members wanted to rape her daughter.
Perez and her daughter are now headed to Boston to stay with a friend who has bought them plane tickets. She and others will still need to report to immigration officials determining whether they can stay.