These families, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo and Angola, have been on the road for a long time. Michele and his family started their journey in January. To get to the U.S., most Central African migrants start with a flight to South or Central America, according to Randy Capps, the director of research for U.S. programs at the Migration Policy Institute.
“Yes they have to fly,” Capps said. “They’re flying to somewhere in Latin America before they journey north, and they have to cross several countries. That’s not an easy journey.”
While the journey isn’t easy, Capps said, it’s preferable to the alternative, which is to make the trip to Europe by boat across the treacherous Mediterranean. In fact, Capps said, many central African asylum seekers don’t even make it to the sea. They’re at refugee camps in North Africa.
“Many of them are stuck and languishing in really poor conditions, some in near slave conditions in Libya right now,” Capps said. “So, when conditions at home are desperate and the Europe option doesn’t look good, the high priced, long distance option to come to the U.S. might be worth it.”
And when they get to South America, they find well-traveled roads to follow north.
“That journey through central America and Mexico has been facilitated by these large migrant caravans, by more sophisticated and faster smuggling routes,” Capps said. “And it’s an easier journey from Guatemala onward than it has been in the past.”
At the U.S. border, customs and border protection says its arrested more than 500 Africans since May 30, but hundreds of others have ended up on shuttle vans that drop them off on a busy street corner in downtown San Antonio, near the greyhound bus station, outside the migrant resource center.
Many of the migrants are headed to Portland, Maine, where there is an established Congolese community. Not Michele though.
“No, no, no. I think I go to New York,” he said. “Now I’m here in Texas, I take some ticket and go to New York.”
He worked in hotels in Kinshasa because he speaks French, Portuguese, Spanish and some English. He said he’ll do any job he can find here, but it’s difficult for an asylum seeker to get a permit to work legally in the U.S., and some never do.
Still, people keep coming. MPI’s Randy Capps said the number of asylum seekers at the southern border has been increasing steadily, with people coming from Cuba and Venezuela and South Asia and Africa drawn by the idea that the US immigration system is kind of a mess right now.
“I think the migrant crisis at the U.S. border has been so well publicized and because of all the chaos over policy making in Washington D.C. it really gives the impression that the US border is open for business right now,” Capps said.
Where is Trump’s wall? Why aren’t there questions being raised in reports such as these about who is enabling this complex system of smuggling? Why aren’t questions of democratic legitimacy being raised?
We also recommend this short BBC report, ‘Dramatic’ rise in African migrants arriving at US border.
Hundreds of Migrants from Africa Who Speak French Landed in San Antonio
NEED TO KNOW NEWS
African migrants began illegally crossing the South Texas border at the end of May and by June 5, more than 500 African migrants had crossed illegally in this single port at the Del Rio Sector in less than a week. Just before the illegal crossings began, hundreds of African migrants gathered near an international bridge in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, to protest not being allowed entry into the US through a legal port of entry, complaining that Cuban migrants were being given preferential treatment. It is unknown who is funding the migration of Africans. Critics are concerned about disease as there has been an outbreak of Ebola in the Congo.
Bob Price for BREITBART NEWS
San Antonio officials scrambled this week to find French-speaking volunteers to help with hundreds of Congolese migrants arriving in the Alamo City.
“We didn’t get a heads up,” Interim Assistant City Manager Dr. Collen Bridger told KEN 5 after a group of 350 Congolese migrants arrived in the city unexpectedly. “When we called Border Patrol to confirm, they said, ‘yet another 200 to 300 from the Congo and Angola will be coming to San Antonio.’”
Bridger told the local CBS affiliate that they are looking for volunteers who can speak French. “If you speak primarily French and can come spend six, seven, eight hours, that would be really helpful,” Bridger explained.
The City of San Antonio apparently expected to be able to move the Congolese migrants along to Portland, Maine. “When we reached out to Portland Maine they said, ‘Please don’t send us any more. We’re already stretched way beyond our capacity,” Bridger stated. Instead, the City is now attempting to locate other localities that will accept these migrants.
South and central African migrants began illegally crossing the South Texas border on May 30 when 117 migrants from the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Angola crossed in the Del Rio Sector. By June 5, more than 500 African migrants had crossed illegally in this single Border Patrol sector, Breitbart News reported.
In a press call on Wednesday afternoon, Brian Hastings, U.S. Border Patrol Chief of Law Enforcement Operations, told reporters this was the first large group “ever recorded in Border Patrol history solely from Central and South Africa. We’ve never seen that demographic in a large group of that size before.”
Two weeks before the illegal crossings began in the Del Rio Sector, hundreds of African migrants gathered near an international bridge in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, to protest not being allowed entry into the U.S. through a legal port of entry, Breitbart News reported. The group complained that Cuban migrants are being given preferential treatment.
Since that time, multiple groups of African migrants, mostly family units, crossed in the same area in large numbers. On June 5, agents apprehended another group of 34 African migrants bringing the total to more than 500 in less than a week.
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