Busloads of asylum seekers to stop overnight in Dallas

Members of the Dallas faith community will help care for migrants seeking asylum in the U.S.

Two busloads with about 100 people who are seeking asylum will arrive in Dallas next week. They are not expected to stay in Dallas for more than one or two nights before leaving via bus or airplane for long-term accommodations with sponsors elsewhere in the country.

Members of the group of non-profits called Dallas Responds say they will be ready for them by the weekend.

Oak Lawn United Methodist Church is set to be the first stop for a bus of about 55 migrants who are set to arrive as early as Saturday. But their stay is expected to be short.

With ICE detention centers at capacity, the government is releasing large numbers of migrants who are awaiting court dates each day.  An El Paso non-profit is calling on Dallas and other cities around the U.S. for help.

Kyle Ogden is president of the Thanks-Giving Foundation. When asked to help, he said yes.

“We're looking at is a humanitarian crisis. We're acting out of compassion,” he said. “We will have several hundred people involved in the volunteer effort."

The plan is for Dallas to receive 100 asylum-seeking migrants a week.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins first received the call for help from the Annunciation House, an El Paso charity that partners with Homeland Security. The organization says it received 1,000 migrants detained by ICE each day in April.

“Whatever you think of border policy or immigration, these are people our government decided to release on their own recognizance in the U.S.,” the judge said. “The question is what is the right thing to do? Do we want to help them get to their destination city? Or do we want them to be homeless on the border of Texas?”

Judge Jenkins says it was an easy question to answer.

“If I were in the situation of running Annunciation House and overrun with more people than I could help, what would I want?” he said.

Jenkins says it is the faith community that is truly making it happen.

“None of this funding is government funding,” he explained. “It is all private philanthropy. People donating. Churches. Synagogues.”

The migrants are only expected to be here in Dallas for 6-60 hours while they make contact with family or friends and find a way to get transportation to them.

“No one is coming here to be here,” Ogden said. “They are coming here to be someplace else.”  

Due to a Dallas city ordinance, the church is not authorized to shelter migrants overnight. The North Texas Hotel Association agreed to provide hotels to the migrants for two weeks.