‘They’re not just numbers’: Advocacy groups concerned with SA’s capacity to support influx of asylum seekers

Busloads of people arrived at the San Antonio Migrant Resource Center from the border. Where do they head now?

SAN ANTONIO – Fred Schellenberg, executive director of the American Organization for Immigrants, said his phones haven’t stopped ringing since the start of the week.

“Everybody deserves a chance,” Schellenberg said. “These are human beings. You know, they’re not just numbers.”

Schellenberg said his group is working with migrants already in the United States, helping them with immigration court and immigration hearings. But he said the Biden Administration’s decision to give more than 200,000 migrants who have lived in the U.S. since July the right to get work authorization has kept his phone ringing.

And this comes in a week where Texas has seen an influx of border crossings and, in San Antonio, an overflow of asylum seekers waiting for their next step.

“What do we do with these folks? How do we help them?” Schellenberg said. “I just can’t see that the city of San Antonio is going to be able to afford this support for the long term. There has to be another solution.”

It could take days before asylum seekers arriving at the Migrant Resource Center can take their next steps. The resource center is a temporary stepping stone.

Asylum seekers get to San Antonio with help from border city nonprofits once they enter the U.S.

They come to San Antonio because it’s seen as a transportation hub, hoping to connect migrants with host families using the airport and Greyhound bus station.

But with such a large influx of people passing through San Antonio and using the Migrant Resource Center, Schellenberg said there could be a delay in connecting people.

“What are they going to do if they don’t have somebody they can just live with?” Schellenberg said. “Once they do that, it’s a whole other set of processes.”

On Wednesday, KSAT 12 asked Catholic Charities where migrants were being taken in empty charter and school buses.

They said, “likely the airport.”

When asked Friday how people across San Antonio could help Catholic Charities and the Migrant Resource Center, a spokesperson for Catholic Charities told KSAT 12 it is not asking the community for support but says it could ask for volunteers soon.

Officials are asking people to visit their website and donate to humanitarian aid to support the migrants.

About the Author:

Avery Everett is a news reporter and multimedia journalist at KSAT 12 News. Avery is a Philadelphia native. If she’s not at the station, she’s either on a hiking or biking trail. A lover of charcuterie boards and chocolate chip cookies, Avery’s also looking forward to eating her way through San Antonio, one taco shop at a time!