LOS ANGELES – A group of migrants who arrived by bus in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday were sent from Texas in a move the city's mayor called a “despicable stunt” by a Republican governor.
Forty-two people, including some children, were dropped off at Union Station around 4 p.m. and were being cared for by city agencies and charitable organizations, Los Angeles City Councilmember Kevin de León’s office said.
“They left yesterday and it was 23 hours on the bus and they did not have a chance to eat or to have water,” said Jorge Mario Cabrera of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, who spoke to several migrants.
“They are being fed; they're taking shelters; they’re talking to attorneys,” he said. “These are migrants that have been allowed by the U.S. to enter because they have credible fears. They have not yet received asylum."
Many were from Latin American countries, including Honduras and Venezuela, and one person had an immigration appointment in New York, he said.
Mayor Karen Bass said she had instructed city departments to prepare to accept migrants from out of state, after GOP governors began sending asylum-seekers to Democratic states in recent months.
“This did not catch us off guard, nor will it intimidate us," Bass said in a statement. “Los Angeles is not a city motivated by hate or fear and we absolutely will not be swayed or moved by petty politicians playing with human lives."
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the migrants were sent to Los Angeles because California had declared itself a “sanctuary” for immigrants, extending protections to people living in the country illegally and allowing them to apply for some state benefits.
“Our border communities are on the frontlines of President Biden’s border crisis, and Texas will continue providing this much-needed relief until he steps up to do his job and secure the border,” Abbott said in a statement.
Last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis flew groups of migrants from border states to Sacramento, California, at taxpayer expense. Last fall, Florida flew 49 Venezuelans to the upscale Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard.
The migrants in Los Angeles were receiving help at St. Anthony’s Croatian Catholic Church near downtown.
Associated Press photographer Damian Dovarganes contributed to this story.