Seven adults, five kids dropped of in San Jose Sept. 30
According to county officials, a dozen South American migrants, including five children, were bused from El Paso, Texas, to San Jose last weekend and are being cared for by community groups while authorities try to figure out who sent them here.
“We’re still learning the full details of their arrival and journey here,” Aundraya Martinez, manager of the Santa Clara County Office of Immigrant Relations, said. “The goal now with the Rapid Response Network is to make sure the families are stabilized.”
The group’s arrival is the latest in a string of unannounced flights and bus trips from the southern border to California, but Martinez and other local officials believe it is the first to Santa Clara County and the greater Bay Area.
The loosening of border restrictions by the Biden administration has resulted in a surge of migrants crossing the southern border and heightened political debate over US immigration policy. Republican governors in Texas, Arizona, and Florida have transported border crossers to Democratic-led cities and states where “sanctuary” policies limit cooperation with immigration enforcement.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a presidential candidate, sent migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, last fall and to Sacramento earlier this year, prompting outrage from Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta, who launched an investigation. The attorney general’s office did not respond to a request for an update on the investigation on Thursday.
During the summer, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott bused migrants to Los Angeles.
However, Martinez stated that it was unclear who was behind the transport of migrants to San Jose. The migrants, who are from Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador, told case workers that US Customs and Border Protection gave them the option of being relocated to California or Colorado, she said.
However, Roger Maier, an El Paso-based spokesman for US Customs and Border Protection, said the federal agency was not involved in transporting the migrants to San Jose. The city of El Paso also denied any involvement.
Representatives for DeSantis and Abbott did not respond immediately Thursday.
The circumstances surrounding the migrants’ arrival indicate that it was not a coordinated transfer.
Martinez stated that they were dropped off at First and Alma streets in downtown San Jose on Saturday night “with no other resources or information.” She explained that they eventually connected with community organizations, which alerted city and county officials.
“All have been connected with the services that they need so far,” Martinez went on to say.
Martinez stated that the adults and children are all family members, but she did not know their ages. They are staying in San Jose, but she refused to say where.
“We’re working to ensure that their privacy and safety is being respected for each of the families,” Martinez said in a statement.
The country is contacting consulates in Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador. If they stay in the area, she said, case workers will make sure the children are enrolled in school.
With concerns growing about unchecked border crossings, the Biden administration waived 26 federal laws in South Texas on Wednesday to allow the construction of a border wall, marking the administration’s first use of broad executive authority to pave the way for more border barriers.
The office of Mayor Matt Mahan referred questions to the city’s Office of Racial Equity.
According to Zulma Maciel, director of the San Jose Office of Racial Equity, San Jose, like other large U.S. cities, expected migrants to arrive seeking refuge, either by choice or being bused here by other jurisdictions. She stated that the city, county, and community organizations created a Welcoming Migrants Plan outlining their respective roles in the event of a migration surge.
“San Jose has always been a gateway for immigrants,” Maciel said. “The City of San Jose values diversity and strives to create a welcoming environment that encourages successful integration of immigrants into our community.” The City of San Jose, as always, will respond with care, compassion, and dignity.”