A charter bus carrying nearly 40 asylum seekers from seven countries arrived Tuesday in Omaha
OMAHA — The group, which was part of an overflow at the United States border, came by charter bus on Tuesday in Omaha, where local volunteers will temporarily house the group. The group is comprised of asylum seekers from seven different countries.
The team from Omaha had been preparing for the men, women, and children who would be sent by a faith-based shelter in the Texas border city of El Paso for several weeks prior to their arrival.
The rush of border-crossers seeking asylum in the United States has left humanitarian organizations in that region feeling overburdened. As a result, they have gone out to activists in other states to ask them to grant refuge.
After the migrants stepped off the red American charter bus, Tom Hoarty, a retired lawyer who is leading the private effort in Omaha, said, “They’re safe. They’ll be well cared after and well fed.”
Gifts of food, clothing, and diapers were given.
During the guests’ time in Omaha, they will be staying in a location that the team would rather not disclose the specifics of. However, they are required to stay together as a group. Donations of money, food, clothing, diapers, and other personal necessities were made by community members.
Hoarty anticipates that the stays will be brief because the time spent in Omaha is intended to be spent connecting with sponsors located throughout the country where the guests will stay pending immigration court hearings in those locations. Hoarty expects that these hearings will take place in those destinations. Already before the conclusion of the first day, three families left Omaha to be united with their sponsors who had been waiting for them elsewhere.
After entering the United States from Mexico, federal immigration officials conducted a screening of each of the migrants, processed their applications, and then released them into the community of El Paso. According to a Customs and Border Protection officer, these kinds of “provisional” releases are a “humane alternative” to the overcrowding that occurs in CBP facilities.
It has been determined that the foreign nationals being released do not present a threat to public safety, and they have also consented to appear at their scheduled court hearing. This hearing will determine whether or not the foreign nationals will be allowed to remain legally in the country with asylum status.
“Omaha Welcome the Stranger,” the sign reads.
In Omaha, Hoarty stated that the initiative, which is called Omaha Welcomes the Stranger, is being organized and financed by private sources and has not received any input from the local government, with the exception of Hoarty talking informally to his City Council member. Hoarty said that the initiative is being organized by private sources.
Hoarty stated that the Omaha organization responded after hearing a need for assistance from the Annunciation House, which is located in El Paso.
Due to the fact that Hoarty and a few other local volunteers had participated in humanitarian efforts along the southern border, they were already familiar with the facility.
In addition to the Annunciation House, other organizations in cities like Denver and Kansas City have opened their doors to provide refuge to groups of migrants traveling by bus.
Not every city has been as kind and friendly as others. A state of emergency had been declared earlier by the mayor of New York Metropolis due to the unabated influx of migrants coming from the El Paso area, which was putting a strain on the available infrastructure in that city.
Positive Omaha reaction
Separately, and in opposition to the border controls implemented by the Biden administration, Republican leaders in the states of Texas and Arizona have dispatched border crossers to a number of cities.
According to Hoarty, his group has been met with nothing but positive feedback and support from members of the Omaha community in response to what they regard to be a humanitarian endeavor.
The guests were welcomed and assisted in settling in on Tuesday by approximately twenty volunteers, some of whom spoke Spanish. According to Hoarty, there have been perhaps forty people across the metropolitan area who have assisted in other ways.
He stated that the personnel at the airport have been helpful in facilitating a comfortable transfer for the asylum seekers from Omaha to other locations where they will be going.
It is anticipated that Tuesday’s arrivals will be the first of many busloads of migrants to arrive in Omaha.
“We’d like to do it again,” Hoarty added. “We’d like to do it again.”
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