Come next year, some asylum seekers may risk being stranded in San Antonio

Mayor says there’s no guarantee of more federal funding for migrant travel

SAN ANTONIO – If the federal government doesn’t come through next year, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said there’s a real concern that no funding for migrant travel would mean asylum seekers could be stranded in San Antonio unless family members can pay for their airfare or bus rides.

“We don’t have guarantees of whether or not that funding is going to continue to come down our way into local communities all across the country without congressional support and federal action,” Nirenberg said during Monday’s KSAT Q&A with anchors Steve Spriester and Myra Arthur.

He said he’s like other city mayors and continues to plead with the federal government.

“We really need some help here, especially as we see what’s happening on the border,” Nirenberg said.

A family from Ecuador outside the Migrant Resource Center (MRC) said they know what it is like to be stranded.

The mother and father said it took two months for them, their 9-year-old daughter and a relative to come this far in pursuit of their American dream.

Instead, the mother said they were so exhausted when they got to the Migrant Resource Center that they made the mistake of listening to a stranger who claimed to know someone who could get them a cheap flight to their destination in Connecticut.

She said the person they believed was a travel agent kept withdrawing money from their account, totaling $2,200.

“That was all the money we had, and there’s no way to get it back,” the mother said.

With the MRC at capacity, she said they’ve spent the past four nights sleeping outside in the cold.

Notified of their situation, a spokesperson for Catholic Charities said she would ask MRC case managers to step in.

As it is, the city’s Migrant Dashboard shows nearly 578,000 migrants arrived in San Antonio over the past two years before traveling to their destinations around the country to await their asylum hearings.

Most were in the city only a matter of days before catching flights or buses, but there have been so many that the city now has an airport transfer center to hold migrants up to 24 hours before their flights leave.


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About the Authors

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.

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