San Antonio not planning on a mass shelter for migrants

Title 42 ended Thursday, opening up the possibility of more asylum seekers coming through San Antonio

San Antonio – Though a spokeswoman said it is working on contingency plans, the City of San Antonio does not plan to open a mass shelter for migrants in the face of the end of Title 42.

The public health policy, which was used to quickly expel migrants from the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic ended late Thursday night. Though some suspected it could lead to an increased number of crossings, the Texas Tribune reported federal officials said there had not not a “major influx” of migrants after Title 42 expired.

READ MORE: What is Title 42? KSAT Explains

Even during the pandemic, the City of San Antonio was dealing with a stream of asylum seekers coming up from the border.

In the face of the “unprecedented” number of migrants, the City of San Antonio opened a Migrant Resource Center in early July 2022, though Catholic Charities has operated it since October 2022. Migrants who have been processed by federal authorities at the border can get food, a temporary place to stay, and even help with travel arrangements.

The MRC on San Pedro Avenue was busy on Friday with what appeared to be a line of people sitting and waiting outside.

Catholic Charities did not make anyone available for an interview Friday, nor did a spokeswoman respond to emailed questions after requesting KSAT submit them in writing.

The city did not make anyone available to interview either, though a city spokeswoman said in a Thursday night email: “In the wake of Title 42 ending, the City, Bexar County, and Catholic Charities are developing contingency plans to coordinate transportation assistance should the number of migrants greatly exceed the capacity of the Migrant Resource Center (MRC)/Centro do Bienveida. We are not developing plans for a mass shelter and do not have the capacity or resources to serve increased numbers of migrants for extended periods of time.”

The city spokeswoman said the MRC would continue to operate at capacity and that Catholic Charities was “working to secure a limited number of hotel rooms.”

About the Authors:

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.