SAN ANTONIO — Emmanuel Antequera and Rafael Rivero journeyed more than 2,000 miles from Venezuela to Texas with the hopes of securing a better future for their families.
The asylum-seekers crossed legally through the Del Rio Port of Entry before being taken to San Antonio’s Migrant Resource Center. The federally funded facility has welcomed well over 100,000 migrants since opening July 7, 2022, providing a variety of resources including overnight shelter, transportation and service referrals.
The number of migrants coming to the southern border is expected to increase with the impending expiration of Title 42, the federal pandemic-era health rule that gives authorities the power to quickly deport migrants.
El Paso has entered a state of emergency in anticipation of the potential post-Title-42 surge of migrant arrivals. Rudy Rosales Jr., who serves as the state director for League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), expressed support for the mandate's ending, although he still has concerns.
“My main concern is the dignity and humanity in reference to how we treat these human beings,” Rosales said.
The White House last Thursday announced plans to set up a series of processing hubs throughout Latin America in an effort to slow the influx of migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Migrants served could also be eligible to be referred and transported to other countries, such as Canada or Spain.
Rosales is calling on Washington lawmakers to take action as well.
“This goes back to the No. 1 question : When is the United States government, and specifically our Congress, going to take action to do some comprehensive immigration reform?" Rosales said.
As for Antequera, he’s looking forward to his new life in Chicago, where he plans to work and make money for his family back home. Rivero plans to do the same, but in New York.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, meanwhile, sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott over the weekend, urging him to stop sending migrants to the Windy City because of capacity issues.
Abbott and other Republican governors have received extensive criticism for busing thousands of migrants to largely Democratic-led cities; it's seen by the Biden administration and immigration advocates as a politically motivated stunt.
Title 42 is expected to end on May 11.