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Ebola San Antonio.
Migrants from Congo Africa are now pouring into Texas. Officials in Texas are overwhelmed by the masses of Congo Africa immigrants that can not speak English.
The Ebola Outbreak in Congo has infected several thousand people so far in Congo Africa.
Now Congo migrants are arriving in Texas.
Will the migrants be monitored for Ebola Virus?
Where will the migrants be traveling to next?
Roughly 350 migrants from the Congo are expected to arrive in San Antonio in the coming days leaving the city scrambling for French-speaking volunteers.
Bridger said the Congolese migrants began to arrive in town on Tuesday. They told Migrant Resource Center workers, they traveled with a group of about 350 migrants through Ecuador to the southern border.
“When we called Border Patrol to confirm, they said, ‘yea another 200 to 300 from the Congo and Angola will be coming to San Antonio,'” Bridger said.
That included Masengi, a Congolese migrant, who didn’t want to have his face on camera but told KENS 5 via Google Translate he arrived to the southern border as an asylum
He said he came to America for security reasons and said, “My family is staying in my country but with the help of the USA I can get it back.”
But the language barrier is why the city is in desperate need of French-speaking volunteers, to help get many of these individuals to their final destination.
“If you speak primarily French and can come spend 6,7,8 hours, that would be really helpful,” Bridger encouraged.
On Wednesday alone the migrant center saw a total of 450 people, Spanish and French speaking, during the day and housed 375 of them at Travis Park Church at night.
The city opened up the Frank Garrett Center to house the Congolese migrants for the weekend, but after that, they’re not sure where they’ll house them especially since they don’t know how long some of them will be here.
“The plan was 350 of them would travel from San Antonio to Portland. 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 said.
“So we’re working with them [the migrants] now to identify other cities throughout the United States where they can go and begin their asylum seeking process.”
Catholic Charities of San Antonio is also responding to the Congolese influx. But Spokesperson, Christina Higgs, told KENS 5 they are struggling with finances. The organization requested additional funding from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop, a group they work with on their refugee program.
Higgs said they’re spending thousands of dollars a week on bus tickets for many of these migrants Spanish and French-speaking to make it to their final destination.
“We’re looking at roughly $14,000 a week on bus tickets alone,” Higgs said.
“We’ve been asked several times if we’re worried if the money will run out and we are. It’s obviously a finite resource. It’s very precious to those who are giving, but this is really the only way for is to go and have these funds earmarked for asylum seekers. To help them in this transition period and get them where they ultimately need to be.”
“The City of San Antonio has received more than 200 individuals, mostly families and children. The families were released by the United States Customs and Border Patrol into the country with paperwork directing them to Portland, Maine,” said Interim Assistant City Manager Dr. Colleen Bridger.
The majority of them stayed at Travis Park Church, which regularly hosts asylum seekers.
“I’m not necessarily surprised…we react to changes on the border every day, we just had to figure out that process it didn’t really shake us up too much,” said Gavin Rogers, associate pastor.
It’s not just Congolese migrants arriving in alarming numbers. Border Patrol agents reported arresting more than 500 people from Africa since May 30. The group included nationals from Angola, Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“It really has been a bit of an anomaly for us,” said Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Raul Ortiz. “I think most of them, you know, obviously are flying to different locations. And then, when they find themselves congregating in a location then they start to formulate a plan just south of the U.S. Mexican border here.”
“Quite often, the individuals from the African continent do not have a permanent address or a sponsor already in the U.S. And so you really just have to pinpoint an immigration court near where they think they are going to ultimately end up and hope that they report themselves in,” said Ortiz.
Over the weekend, the city, along with Catholic Charities, worked with the asylum seekers to figure out their next destination as many arrived without designated host families and cities.
“If we don’t know exactly the best place to send the migrant community like the Congolese. We have to figure out what shelters are available around the nation, where’s the best place for their community to go,” said Rogers.
Residents of San Antonio are concerned that some migrants from Congo Africa could be carrying Ebola Virus, as there is currently an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
However, officials in San Antonio quickly shut down those rumors, telling local reporters that the migrants go through multiple health screenings.
“It’s a 21-day incubation period so it’s really not possible that, if they were exposed to Ebola in the DRC, that now, six months later, they develop symptoms and infect us,” Bridger said.
By Monday, the majority of the Congo migrants had left on buses, heading to cities all over America, as the Congo migrants have friends or family members in cities in states outside of Texas. The migrants waiting in line for the Greyhound Bus outside the city’s Migrant Resource Center downtown had dwindled.
Greyhound bus line are transporting the Congo migrants to cities all around the united states, and the migrants will be coming to your city next for a short stop or maybe they will decide to make their new home in your town.
How will the migrants communicate they all speak French and learning English will be a difficult and long process to complete.
If you are interested in donating funds to the Congo Migrants that need your help you can do so at the Catholic Charities website.