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Some migrants to reunite with family after arriving in Philly



PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Dozens of migrants who were bused in from Texas arrived in Philadelphia overnight Wednesday. The City of Philadelphia welcomed the asylum seekers with open arms, while also calling Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s busing operation “cruel and dehumanizing.”

City immigration officials say the migrants say these people have all fled thousands of miles from Latin American countries to legally seek asylum in the United States. For many, Philadelphia is just another stop on their journey.

After a nearly 5,000-mile trek, Georgina is calling Philadelphia home. She fled from her native country, Panama.

The 24-year-old is one of 30 migrants bused to Philadelphia from Del Rio, Texas. The bus pulled into 30th Street Station just after 3 am Wednesday.

Officials say seven were picked up by family members from there.

“Majority are going to New York, New Jersey, Ohio,” Rep. Amen Brown said.

After arriving in Philadelphia, some asylum seekers are waiting for family members to pick them up at a holding facility in Feltonville and take them to their next destination.

The holding facility is just another stop on their journey. Officials aren’t able to reveal details about where they are headed.

Georgina’s family, who lives in Philadelphia, anticipated her arrival.

The city and several non-profit organizations set up the welcome facility as a resting place and triage for the migrants whose journeys have already been everything but effortless.

CBS3 spoke to Rossanna Lopenza, the President of Casa de Venezuela, a local bilingual nonprofit on-site helping to facilitate the process.

She says this journey has taken a physical and mental toll on everyone who arrived in Philadelphia. Most of the asylum seekers made the dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border in Texas, Lopenza said.

They come from different countries in South America. Once they arrived at the border, many were held in immigration detention centers for nearly a month before taking that 48-hour bus ride to Philadelphia.

Lopenza says these are people who risked their lives to escape government corruption, poverty and cartel violence in Latin American countries.

“The United States is the goal for many people, sadly we need to focus on the true root of the issue, which is the political system that we have in many Latin American countries,” Arteaga-Lopenza said.

Inside the facility, CBS3 is told there are mainly women and children. They are being offered food, warm clothing, a place to sleep as well as medical attention.

Click here for information on how you can help the migrants who arrived in Philadelphia.