Local leaders detail journey of Venezuelan asylum seekers who arrived on bus from Texas and Colorado

Elisa Navarro Image
Saturday, February 3, 2024
Texas bus of Venezuelan asylum seekers dropped off in Fresno
19 Venezuelan migrants were bused into Fresno on Saturday from Texas. Among the 19, there are families and at least three children.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Cities around the country have been facing an influx of migrants from the Southern border, many coming from Texas. Now Fresno is the latest major U.S. city to receive a group.

19 Venezuelan migrants were bused into Fresno on Saturday from Texas. Among the 19, there are families and at least three children.

"This was thrust upon us. If we would have had some notice from someone," Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer said. "We would have been prepared to receive them and go through a more organized process."

At City Hall on Friday afternoon, the 19 asylum-seekers from Venezuela were provided with resources and soon a health screening.

Councilmember Miguel Arias and Mayor Jerry Dyer say support is happening at the last minute since they had no idea the Venezuelans were in Fresno.

"We have been able to secure legal council members for them, social services support, and some housing," Arias said.

The migrants were dropped off over the weekend by a Greyhound bus. Some say Fresno was not their final destination.

"They originally were in El Paso, placed on a bus. They were given the option as to what city they wanted and they picked Denver but once they got they, they were bused back to California," Dyer said. "And according to them they thought they were going to Indio and ended up in Fresno."

The families say that after arriving, they were pointed to the Fresno Mission.

Matt Dildine, the non-profit CEO, confirms they provided services for them Thursday. Dildine says he's already receiving backlash from his donors, for helping out the migrants.

"We are not a political organization. We are not border patrol. It's our job to reflect Christ, which is what we are trying to do," Dildine said.

The families are now in a hotel and will stay there temporarily while the county steps in to help.

Dyer understands buses carrying migrants from states have been sent to other parts of the country and says what's happening needs a solution.

"I do not support what is being done in Texas by shipping seekers all over but I understand what they face in Texas and Arizona where there is an influx of people coming into the state," Dyer said

On Saturday morning, Social Services will be meeting with the families.

Mayor Dyer says they will help the 19 migrants get back to El Paso where they have a court date to continue with their immigration process.

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