Houston shelters begin to see impact of Title 42 ending as migrants arrive for aid on Friday

Erica Simon Image
Friday, May 12, 2023
Houston shelters begin to see impact of Title 42 ending
Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston welcomed a busload of migrants on Friday and is assisting those in need to get to their sponsors until their scheduled legal proceedings.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- In the wake of Title 42 coming to an end, we're already seeing the effects of it play out right here in Houston.

On Friday morning, a bus of migrants arrived at a shelter in north Harris County.

Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston welcomed migrants at a shelter near Bush Intercontinental Airport. Several volunteers and staff are assisting migrants with meals and other personal needs. While there hasn't been an influx, they are seeing more families and young children.

All are coming with hopes of a better life.

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"I want to come. I'll be a good worker in the United States. I want to work. I want to open up a business. I want to contribute to the United States. So, they come very hopeful," Karina Hernandez explained.

Hernandez, director of the Houston Migrant Center, or HTC, says those hopes are often dashed when migrants arrive. Many have been lied to by the cartel or smugglers and told they'd be given housing or could work immediately.

That and Title 42 ending are why a massive surge at the southern U.S. border is expected.

Houston has yet to see that. Forty-six people arrived on a bus to the migrant center from El Paso on Friday, and it is only the second bus of the week.

"About half are staying here in Houston. They say they have sponsors here in Houston. The other half are traveling to other states; other cities. Florida, Chicago, San Antonio," Hernandez said.

ABC13 was there in the fall of last year when HTC first opened. Since then, they tell us they've helped about 3,000 migrants -- all of whom have been cleared by Homeland Security and have proper documentation.

The HTC is just meant to be a brief stop for the migrants. They can receive a hot shower, meal, and clothing, get help with paperwork, and then go to their next destination while they wait for an asylum court date.

RELATED: Federal judge temporarily blocks Border Patrol from 'paroling' migrants to ease overcrowding

The problem is, we're told, some don't have a date set until 2025 or 2026 and aren't legally allowed to work while they wait.

Catholic Charities' mission is to get migrants to their sponsor, usually a family member or friend who can financially support them and house them until their legal proceedings.

Catholic Charities says it's doing what it can to help those in need, trying to be here the right way.

"We're helping those that have been processed by Homeland Security, so they have to have documentation. So again, we're able to help them. The ones that have documentation. We're just trying our best to be the good Samaritan," Hernandez said.

WATCH: Houston area sees influx of migrants from border following expiration of Title 42

Casa Juan Diego, a Houston nonprofit organization serving undocumented migrants, is reporting an influx of people coming in from the border.

Casa Juan Diego is another primary migrant shelter in Houston, but they have not had anyone arrive yet.

Catholic Charities has about $1 million in federal funds to help their efforts but estimates that it will only last them another few months.

For those who want to aid migrant families, Catholic Charities says monetary donations are the best way to go.

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