‘Driven by fear’: Shearer Hills/Ridgeview neighbors weigh in on Migrant Resource Center

City of San Antonio opened center on San Pedro Avenue to help asylum seekers transition to destinations

SAN ANTONIO – People who live in Shearer Hills/Ridgeview describe the community as welcoming, and over the past two years, they’ve welcomed thousands of temporary neighbors.

In 2022, the neighborhood became the home of the Migrant Resource Center, located on San Pedro Avenue. The city opened the facility to help asylum seekers reach their final destinations.

Erik Sanden with the Shearer Hills/Ridgeview Neighborhood Association said initially, it took some getting used to.

“The problems would be sort of low-level problems,” he explained. “Like at the beginning, there was a problem with trash because when the city began the project, they just didn’t have the operations in place. But it’s relatively very clean right now, and they’re they’re doing a good job of cleaning up the trash.”

The Migrant Resource Center on San Antonio's north side opened in 2022. (Copyright 2024 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

City data shows San Antonio has hosted more than a half-million migrants since 2021 as they transitioned to their host cities.

In September, KSAT spoke with Jose Carmona from Venezuela outside the center. At the time, he said he stayed inside the facility for a night.

Then, the sidewalk became his bed — with a view overlooking several Shearer Hills/Ridgeview homes, including one owned by Mark Hiebert.

To Hiebert, he believes his nomadic neighbors are not an issue.

“There has not been any negative experience that I’ve had with anybody who’s going through the MRC,” he said.

About a half-mile away, Charles Nourie has a different perspective.

“It’s a thumb on the neighborhood,” he said.

With the center nearby, Nourie said he feels like his backyard has become the border.

“When you go to any of the other stores up here on Northtown Plaza, they’re just overloaded,” he said. “You can go up there, most days, and find a large number of people just sitting all across the curb in front of the businesses.”

Nourie and other neighbors told KSAT they’ve seen migrants walking around and at times, approaching people.

When asked if that made him feel unsafe, Hiebert replied, “Not at all, not in the least.”

“I think there are a lot of folks who are driven by fear and then driven by politics,” Hiebert responded.

Hiebert said he wishes people could push politics aside and focus on those impacted the most by the crisis, like Carmona, who said he is trying to support his parents and two kids back in Venezuela.

It’s a humanitarian issue unfolding behind the Shearer Hills/Ridgeview homes.

“They’re like any guest coming to your home, you want to treat them well,” Hiebert said. “Think about what you’d want if you were wearing their shoes.”

KSAT reached out to the Migrant Resource Center for comment on this story but did not hear back.

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About the Authors

Daniela Ibarra joined the KSAT News team in July 2023. This isn’t her first time in the KSAT newsroom– the San Antonio native spent the summer of 2017 as an intern. Daniela is a proud Mean Green alum, earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Texas.

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.

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