San Antonio opens Migrant Resource Center, surprising neighbors

SAN ANTONIO – With hundreds of migrants arriving in San Antonio each day, transported by bus from the border, the city opened a migrant resource center on Thursday to the surprise of residents of nearby neighborhoods of Shearer Hills and Ridgeview.

City officials say migrants seeking asylum arrived in droves from the border after federal authorities processed them. More than 198,000 migrants have passed through the city since April 2021. The city plans to use the new resource center in a former CPS Energy customer service building in the 7000 block of San Pedro Avenue as a one-stop-shop for help them continue to their final destinations.

Of the 600 migrants who arrive in San Antonio daily, the city says 500 need a place to stay overnight. And while previously many went straight to the airport, those without immediate travel plans ended up making their way to downtown Travis Park, where groups like the Interfaith Welcome Coalition have tried to help them with food and shelter.

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Now, the city says migrants will be able to benefit from case management, access to rest areas, food and trips to an overnight shelter or their continued journey to the resource center.

The city has previously said it does not purchase tickets for migrants, although its partners may be reimbursed by the same FEMA program the city plans to fund the resource center.

However, residents of the neighborhood behind the building were unaware of the city plans and had mixed reactions when asked about it on Thursday.

Annette Davidson, a 17-year-old resident, said there were already many homeless people passing through the area and she feared the migrant resource center would bring more crime.

“There’s a lot more robbery because — a lot more robbery, you know? A lot more people are wandering around neighborhoods that don’t belong,” Davidson said.

Next street, Monica Rodriguez-Luna hadn’t heard of the center either, but she wasn’t as worried.

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“I think it’s great. Anything we can do to help,” she said. “I think San Antonio is a great city, which has been very supportive of our immigrants. And so, I have no problem with that.

The city says the resource center should remain open until 2022 or until the number of migrant arrivals no longer requires it. It will be funded by reimbursements through FEMA’s emergency food and shelter program.

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