SAN ANTONIO – The City of San Antonio announced it will provide travel support for asylum seekers as they make their way across the U.S. to their final destinations.
San Antonio is partnering with the City of Austin for this endeavor, which began Jan. 11 after the city reportedly saw an influx of asylum seekers seeking transportation, according to city officials.
“This assistance is designed to provide a humane and efficient way to support the City and its partners and not disrupt nor delay travelers at the airport,” the city of SA said in a statement.
This comes on the heels of the Biden administration’s announcement Thursday of a new online appointment system for asylum seekers at the Mexican border.
The online system is “the only way for migrants to get exceptions from pandemic-era limits on asylum,” according to The Associated Press. The exemptions for Title 42, which has not been lifted, are expected to go to the most vulnerable migrants.
Asylum seekers are legally permitted to make their way to their final destinations. As the City of SA helps provide transportation, it will seek full reimbursement from the federal government for the expenses.
According to city officials, asylum seekers will need to complete initial processing and be pre-booked for flights leaving out of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport before leaving San Antonio’s Migrant Resource Center.
Between 40 and 120 asylum seekers are expected to arrive on buses to Austin during each travel day before they’re taken to board their pre-booked flights.
The travel support for asylum seekers will not bring more flights or airline activity in Austin or San Antonio, according to city officials.
Catholic Charities of San Antonio will also be providing assistance to Austin with a 24/7 phone line that will help asylum seekers who need to rebook their flights.
To learn more about the program, visit the City of SA’s website here.