EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – More migrants are to be expected to be dropped off in Downtown El Paso by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials, who released close to 100 Venezuelans overnight.
KTSM on Thursday spoke with migrants waiting at a Downtown bus station, and most explained that they were left with no direction on how to get where they needed to go.
County Judge Ricardo Samaniego says one issue is that many of the migrants from Venezuela do not have a sponsor in the U.S. who could help get them to their destination.
“Almost all of the Venezuelans are coming in without sponsorship so obviously that creates an issue because you’re holding back and can’t put them on a bus if you don’t know where they’re going,” he said.
Jesus Mendez, one of the migrants who was dropped off, said the situation in his home country of Venezuela is what caused him to flee, hoping to make it for his family.
“I’m 20 years old, and I’m the oldest of three (siblings). So, I need to help my father, my brother. My brother played baseball and I don’t what happened to me to happen to him, where I had to abandon sports and work.”
Another man, Jose Antonio Linares Rivero, said his journey was difficult coming over here to the United States but, it was worth it.
“I cross the river; you know the river. And I was told to just hold on to the border wall. And the first Border Patrol van showed up. And the officer treated me well. I gave him my ID, and he gave me a bracelet, and I waited and then they took me,” he said.
In a statement to KTSM, the Border Patrol said the drop-offs occur when immigration jails and nonprofits are at capacity and they need to open up space at the El Paso Sector Central Processing Center.
“Generally, after processing, migrants who are not detained for the duration of their removal proceeding are provisionally released in coordination with non-governmental organizations. If non-governmental organizations are over capacity, U.S. Border Patrol coordinates with local governments and cities to identify locations where migrants can conveniently access transportation services or accommodations.”
Even though the journey to come over here was difficult, Mendez is grateful to be here. He is now waiting for his brother to get released as well and they both will plan on what they want to do next.
“It is a joy that I cannot describe …” he said. “All I know is that I looked up at the sky and I thought about my grandfather, who I always promised I would make it here. I always told him, ‘One day, I will be in the United States and I will take you to visit, but he ended up dying. … But I made it. It’s a joy that is awesome, it’s awesome.”
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