Bus of asylum seekers from Venezuela and El Salvador arrives in L.A., marking 14th sent by Texas

Los Angeles, California-July 1, 2023 - A bus carrying dozens of migrants from Texas arrived at Union Station in downtown LA
A bus from Texas carrying dozens of migrants arrived at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday. They were taken to St. Anthony's Croatian Catholic Church, shown here on July 1. (Raul Roa/Los Angeles Times)

The 14th bus of migrants shipped from Texas since mid-June arrived in Union Station in Los Angeles on Tuesday morning, according to city officials and advocacy groups.

A member of the L.A. Welcomes Collective, a group of nonprofits, religious organizations and government agencies that share resources to aid migrants, tweeted that the bus carried 40 asylum seekers from Venezuela and El Salvador.

Of that total, 12 families, including 14 children, disembarked at 9:15 a.m.

“We focus on people, not drama or politics,” the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights Los Angeles, an L.A. Welcomes Collective member, said in a tweet Tuesday. ”Together, the city, county, & non-profits will continue to coordinate and support each other until our new neighbors feel they have an opportunity to start again.”

About 580 migrants have reached Los Angeles since the first bus departed Texas on June 14, said Jorge-Mario Cabrera, CHIRLA's director of communications. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott put the number at "over 480 migrants" before Tuesday's arrival.

In June, Abbot explained his reason for sending them. L.A. is "a major city that migrants seek to go to, particularly now that its city leaders approved its self-declared sanctuary city status," he said. "Our border communities are on the front lines of President Biden's border crisis, and Texas will continue providing this much-needed relief until he steps up to do his job and secure the border."

Read more: Thirteenth bus of migrants arrives at Union Station from Texas

City staff became aware of the impending bus arrival a day earlier, said Zach Seidl, a spokesperson for Mayor Karen Bass.

“The city has continued to work with city departments, the county, and a coalition of nonprofit organizations, in addition to our faith partners, to execute a plan set in place earlier this year,” Seidl wrote in a statement.

The bus left Brownsville, Texas, on Monday at 7:18 a.m., Cabrera said.

“With previous buses, we’ve had situations where families have told us they haven’t had a meal in 25 hours and were only given chips and water, if that,” Cabrera said.

This bus was unique, given that “90% of the migrants are from Venezuela” and only one family was from El Salvador, Cabrera said. Previous buses have included families from Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Russia and other countries.

Read more: L.A. City Council pushes for legal action against Texas governor over migrant buses

After reaching Union Station, the families were sent to nearby St. Anthony Croatian Catholic Church, which borders Chinatown.

There, families were fed and children provided toys, Cabrera said. Families often engage with faith leaders, mental health counselors and health department personnel for medical evaluations and vaccines, Cabrera said.

Eventually families meet with case managers, while some are transported to relatives in other parts of the state or country.

Cabrera said that 80% of asylum seekers have family in the Los Angeles area and stay.

Sign up for Essential California for news, features and recommendations from the L.A. Times and beyond in your inbox six days a week.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.