Hundreds of African migrants who crossed into the United States through the southern border earlier this month have quickly dispersed to more than a dozen U.S. cities after government officials allegedly failed to follow standard procedures.
What are the details?
About 300 Congolese and Angolan citizens who crossed the border on June 4 near the south-central Texas towns of Eagle Pass and Del Rio have since been bussed to various cities across the U.S., according to the Washington Examiner.
After the migrants crossed the Rio Grande, they surrendered to Border Patrol agents and claimed political asylum. However, the agency did not place the migrants in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a standard procedure of immigrant detainment at the border.
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Instead, it released families onto the streets of Eagle Pass and Del Rio, according to two government and nongovernment officials with first-hand knowledge of the matter. The African migrants then bought bus tickets to either San Antonio or Austin, according to San Antonio Interim Assistant City Manager Colleen Bridger.
"If — a family, the sponsor — it's been 24-48 hours and they can't buy the [bus] ticket, then we'll buy it," Elizabeth Nemeth, executive director of Catholic Charities' west side center, told the Washington Examiner Thursday. For a family of five to seven looking to travel by bus to New York, it will cost $2,000, she said.
The majority of the migrants traveled to Portland, Maine, where there is a growing community of African migrants, while others went to Boston, Chicago, New York City, among a dozen other cities.
How are the migrants reaching the US?
Christina Higgs, spokeswoman for Catholic Charities of the San Antonio region, explained to The Examiner that migrants spend six or seven months traveling to Brazil before making the journey north to the U.S.
Migrants "hedge their bets" on this method because many believe the refugee route will not work, she said.
Officials believe African migrants will continue to surge the border in the coming months. The problem is becoming so bad that San Antonio needs French and African dialect speakers to help with the migrant surge.