Tags: immigrants | asylum | hurricane harvey | harvey | federal authorities

Report: ICE Stranded Immigrant Families in San Antonio During Hurricane Harvey

Report: ICE Stranded Immigrant Families in San Antonio During Hurricane Harvey
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

By    |   Sunday, 27 August 2017 03:47 PM

Federal authorities reportedly left more than 50 immigrant women and children stranded at a San Antonio bus station after service had already been cancelled ahead of Hurricane Harvey.

The asylum seekers, mostly from Central America, were due to travel to cities and towns across the United States after passing Citizenship and Immigration Services screening. 

"We were told yesterday that no buses are running tomorrow, so Congressman Lloyd Doggett [D-San Antonio] called [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] to not drop families at the bus station," Sister Denise LeRock, a member of the Interfaith Welcome Coalition, told Rivard Report. 

Doggett told the news outlet that ICE told him Friday morning the group would be dropped off at the downtown station in time to make connections before the storm hit, but they arrived too late.

"This is all really unacceptable," he told the news site. "We need greatly improved communication and more attention to genuine humanitarian concerns."

ICE defended its actions, The Hill reported, saying in an official statement that "All of the aliens who were transferred to the San Antonio Greyhound bus station by ICE on Friday morning had confirmed tickets and itineraries to their destinations. Throughout the process, ICE remained in close contact with bus officials to ensure bus availability, and all aliens had confirmed bus transportation at the time at which ICE officers departed the station. Ultimately, ICE kept two additional families in custody since their bus trip had been cancelled."

ICE did not say, however, whether buses were running when the families were dropped off at the station.

An ICE official told The Hill that when people are released from ICE custody the agency “no longer has authorization to control their movements if they decide to alter or cancel their bus trip. Nor can we remain on site to monitor their travel status since they are no longer in ICE custody.”

City officials and aid workers from the Interfaith Welcome Coalition found the families shelter in a local church, Barbie Hurtado, a spokeswoman for a local nonprofit that provides refuge to immigrant families released from detention, told MySanAntonio.com.

"They were really exhausted," she told the outlet. "After everything they’ve gone through … they still can’t get to their families because of this horrible storm, so they can’t leave."

Brian Freeman contributed to this report.

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Federal authorities reportedly left more than 50 immigrant women and children stranded at a San Antonio bus station after service had already been cancelled ahead of Hurricane Harvey.
immigrants, asylum, hurricane harvey, harvey, federal authorities
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2017-47-27
Sunday, 27 August 2017 03:47 PM
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