Buses leaving the city of Texas in the midst of the border crisis are struggling to keep pace with business – as they are full of illegal immigrants released to the United States by overwhelmed border patrol officers, The Post has learned.
Since the crisis erupted following President Biden’s election, the four bus companies that operate from the bus terminal at McAllen, Texas Central Station have added up to six daily routes, totaling 250 seats – but that’s still not enough, city manager Roy Rodriguez mentioned.
“We don’t have enough private bus seats to get everyone out,” Rodriguez told The Post.
Demand for out-of-town tickets is at a “record” level, with “most, if not all” of the recent surge coming from migrants who have been caught crossing the border illegally and released pending future court appearances. in court, Rodriguez said, citing information pulled together by McAllen Transit manager Mario Delgado.
“All the seats are already purchased for tomorrow,” Rodriguez said Wednesday.
“So if someone wants to buy a bus ticket to go north, they have to wait two days.”
The central station has also seen a 50% increase in the number of passengers hanging around and waiting to leave, he said, adding: “This is substantial because we are a fairly busy bus station to begin with.
A spokesperson for Greyhound Lines – the country’s largest bus company and one of four that provide service to and from McAllen – acknowledged an increase in demand for travel from the southern border since March and said that “part of the increase can be attributed to migrants traveling.”
Greyhound has not received any federal assistance to expand its operations, the company said, but “would welcome government assistance as we continue to work diligently to provide travel assistance to migrant families.”
“While it is not Greyhound’s responsibility to specifically transport migrants, Greyhound strives to treat all passengers with dignity,” the spokesperson added.
Representatives for three other carriers – Trailways, Tornado Bus Co. and El Expreso Bus Co. – did not respond to inquiries.
McAllen is located in the Rio Grande Valley, one of nine regions in the southern jurisdiction of the Border Patrol, which has seen more illegal immigration than any other, with 260,000 migrants arrested there since Feb. 1, according to the federal data.
Almost half of the migrants belonged to family groups, according to statistics.
Once captured by border patrol officers, they are processed and then sent to a government-run coronavirus testing site opposite the bus terminal.
After being tested, migrants are escorted to a nearby center run by Catholic Charities, where they stay an average of 24 hours while making arrangements to travel further into the United States.
The center now hosts a record average of 7,000 people per week, about half of whom go by bus and the rest by plane, Rodriguez said.
Although the migrants are supposed to be released with a manila envelope containing instructions on when and where they are supposed to appear in federal immigration court, the Homeland Security Department admitted earlier this year that this does not happen not always.
“In some cases, families are placed in a removal process later in the release process rather than while they are at the border patrol station,” DHS said in late March.
Rodriguez said McAllen had no choice but to deal with the influx and praised the help provided by Catholic charities, saying, “Thank goodness for them because I don’t don’t know where we would be without them. “
“We continue to try to make sure everyone is tested so that anyone is taken off the line, whether it’s the bus or the plane, and that’s the best they can do,” he said. -he declares.
“These people are not coming to stay here and so we have to provide them with [a way] where they are heading.