Austin, San Antonio Start Program to Help Fly Asylum Seekers Out of Texas

Officials expect to serve as many as 120 people daily and will seek full reimbursement from the federal government

Cities in Texas have struggled to cope with a sharp increase in migrants streaming over the Mexican border to seek asylum in the US.
By Brendan Walsh
January 14, 2023 | 06:01 PM

Bloomberg — Austin is joining forces with the city of San Antonio to help asylum seekers travel to their final destinations in the US, with the Texas cities agreeing to coordinate efforts to arrange flights outside the state.

Officials expect to serve as many as 120 people daily and will seek full reimbursement from the federal government for the cost of the program, which begins Friday, Austin authorities said in a statement. The flights from Austin’s airport will be offered to people who have gone through initial processing for their asylum claims, sought service through San Antonio’s migrant resource center and are seeking to travel elsewhere in the US.

Cities in Texas have struggled to cope with a sharp increase in migrants streaming over the Mexican border to seek asylum in the US, often leaving shelters overrun and straining resources at charities set up to help the travelers. Republican Governor Greg Abbott has come under harsh criticism from Democrats after he started a program to bus migrants across the US without coordinating with officials at their destinations. Democrat-led cities like San Antonio and El Paso have also chartered buses for migrants, but have done so with the cooperation of aid groups at their destinations.

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Since the start of last year, San Antonio has helped more than 365,000 asylum seekers get to their final destinations in the US. Last month, the city saw a daily average of 1,200 arrivals.

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