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Thread: Hundreds of recently released Central Americans pass through Memphis bus station

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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Hundreds of recently released Central Americans pass through Memphis bus station

    Hundreds of recently released Central Americans pass through Memphis bus station, aid groups say

    Micaela Watts and Daniel Connolly, Memphis Commercial Appeal
    Published 9:08 a.m. CT Nov. 9, 2018 | Updated 9:57 a.m. CT Nov. 9, 2018

    (Photo: Daniel Connolly / The Commercial Appeal)

    Men, women and children recently released from immigration detention centers at the border are passing through the Memphis Greyhound bus station by the hundreds.

    That's according to a new Memphis aid group giving
    them food, clothes and other necessities before they continue on their way. Many have made the journey from Central American countries such as Guatemala and Honduras and are headed to destinations throughout the U.S.

    "In a lot of cases, we're seeing kids who haven't had anything to eat in two days," said Hunter Demster, a local activist and one of the organizers of the effort. "Or they're arriving without jackets and traveling through cold weather."

    A spokesman with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Carl Rusnok, said he couldn't say why the Central Americans are passing through Memphis.

    But the situation apparently has to do with the federal government's recent decision to release families who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally or seek asylum, rather than keeping those families detained. The released migrants are given instructions to appear later in immigration court.

    Laura Coleman, a leader of the aid group, believes the migrants' families pay for their bus tickets and they're on their way to meet family members in other states.

    Stories of hitchhiking and a volcano

    Around 15 to 20 Central Americans, including men, women, teens and small children, were changing buses at the Greyhound station on Airways near Memphis International Airport Thursday evening.

    Ricky Pena, 54, said he had journeyed from Honduras for days with his 16-year-old son Alberto. He described walking and hitchhiking through Mexico to the U.S.-Mexico border at Mexicali, just south of California.

    He said poverty and crime in Honduras drove him to make the journey, and he wanted a better life for his family.

    At the border, they were detained for two days and then let go, ready to continue on to Virginia. He said he couldn't pronounce the name of the place they're going to in Virginia.

    After answering some questions from a reporter, the father excused himself. "We're hungry," he said in Spanish. The father and son got in line with other migrants at the restaurant inside the Greyhound bus station.

    Wearing a tan jacket, the man counted his dollar bills and coins and tried to figure out how to order a hamburger without speaking English. The son, who wore a baseball cap, pointed out a postcard of Elvis Presley.

    At the counter, a Mexican man who spoke some English was helping the Central Americans place orders. That man translated the cashier's bad news: the order might take 15 minutes, and she couldn't give a refund if the bus came before the food was ready.

    Then a few feet away, the aid group started giving away meals in brown paper bags. The father and son went and got one each and soon were eating sandwiches and drinking bottled water.

    Pena said he's grateful for the help, and that in his short time in the United States, he's been treated well. "A lot of support from the people."

    Brothers Carlos Gomez, 40, and Juan Chen, 39, said they're farmers of coffee, beans and corn and their fields were destroyed in a recent eruption of the Fuego volcano in Esquintla, Guatemala. They were traveling with two boys, ages 10 and 15, and said they'd left their wives at home as they headed to New York.

    Buy PhotoAnibal Lopez Funes, a 39-year-old Guatemalan immigrant, poses for a portrait inside the Greyhound bus station in Memphis on November 8, 2018. (Photo: Daniel Connolly / The Commercial Appeal)

    Immigration authorities stopped them at the border, but Gomez said they weren't mistreated. "There, they received us with love," he said.

    He said they were detained, then released. They traveled from Phoenix to Dallas, and didn't know the name of the town or city in New York where they were going.

    Most of the Central Americans lined up to board another bus, but one Guatemalan man, Anibal Lopez Funes, 39, and his son Kenny Lopez Figueroa, 17, were picked up at the Memphis station by a relative.

    Charitable group forms to help

    The new organization informally calls itself Immigration is Beautiful.

    One of the volunteers is local activist Ivan Flores. He said the first large bus of migrants came around 4 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 28.

    One of the earliest leaders of the effort was Laura Coleman with a group called Showing Up for Racial Justice. Coleman said a contact in Dallas told her about 30 Central Americans would be passing through Memphis. Volunteers started gathering aid.

    It soon became clear the situation would last for days, and the effort expanded, with people bringing items to First Congregational Church in Midtown, she said.

    Organizers brought a box of drinks to pass out to central American migrants at the Memphis Greyhound station. (Photo: Daniel Connolly / The Commercial Appeal)

    The organization is collecting items such as jackets, non-perishable foods, and hygiene products, coordinating through a Facebook page called Memphis Feminist Collective.

    Early Thursday, members of the coalition said officials at the Greyhound bus terminal had banned the group from distributing aid to the migrants.

    A spokesperson for Greyhound issued the following statement:

    “Thanks for your recent inquiry regarding our Memphis station. We applaud the efforts of local community groups and we understand their desire to provide support to those in need. Unfortunately, private individuals are not allowed to provide food and certain supplies from the station because of health and safety concerns. Volunteers are able to access the terminal as long as they are not disruptive to our customers and employees.”

    Crystal Booker, Greyhound Lines, Inc.

    But that evening, Flores said he'd received a call saying the group was welcome to come back. It wasn't clear what had happened.

    Ankle monitors, sometimes

    The Arizona Republic reported last month that the government has begun releasing large numbers of people arriving along the U.S.-Mexico border.

    The releases come in response to a surge of Central American families arriving at the border and a lack of detention space, it reported.

    ICE said it began releasing families without fully reviewing their travel plans due to "the incredibly high volume of (family members) presenting themselves along the Arizona border."

    The government also said it was releasing the families to avoid violating a legal decree called the Flores settlement, which limits the amount of time children can be held in detention centers.

    The adults in the family are given an ankle monitor, released into the custody of relatives living in the United States, and given a hearing at an immigration court several weeks later, according to The Arizona Republic.

    Pena, the father who was traveling with his 16-year-old son, was among the men at the station who weren't issued an ankle monitor. He said he'll meet his requirements in immigration court anyway. "I respect the laws of the United States."

    Release of migrants is not new

    The government has long released some people who have entered the United States illegally or arrived at the border seeking asylum. They've typically been given paperwork to appear in immigration court.

    The policy, dubbed "catch-and-release" by opponents, stands in sharp contrast to President Trump's highly publicized decision to send the military to stop a caravan of Central Americans trying to make their way to the U.S.

    The Trump administration on Tuesday announced new rules to deny asylum to anyone who enters illegally.

    Lawyers argue the president is overstepping the law, and a legal challenge appears likely.

    In many cases, released migrants wait years for a hearing before a judge. Many of their asylum claims will likely be denied - the poverty and extreme gang violence common in Central American countries usually don't fit the asylum criteria.

    Retired Memphis immigration judge Charles E. Pazar
    has said asylum and related cases require a person to show credible fear of persecution based on at least one of the following: race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

    After the migrants left the bus station, some members of the aid group stayed behind in the waiting area, with boxes of bagged meals, water, clothes and even toys.

    Volunteers said they plan to meet every bus that's coming from a border area.

    Another one was expected soon.

    Support local journalism and get unlimited access year-round by subscribing to the Commercial Appeal.

    Reach reporter Micaela Watts at 901-491-2606, or on Twitter @megawatts2000.

    Reach reporter Daniel Connolly at 529-5296,, or on Twitter at @danielconnolly.


    Don't reward the criminal actions of millions of illegal aliens by giving them citizenship.

    Sign in and post comments here.

    Please support our fight against illegal immigration by joining ALIPAC's email alerts here

  2. #2
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Don't reward the criminal actions of millions of illegal aliens by giving them citizenship.

    Sign in and post comments here.

    Please support our fight against illegal immigration by joining ALIPAC's email alerts here

  3. #3
    Moderator Beezer's Avatar
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    Apr 2016
    "He said poverty and crime in Honduras drove him to make the journey, and he wanted a better life for his family. "


    HE does not qualify!

    Keep them out!

    Stop releasing them on our soil!

    Send them back.
    GeorgiaPeach likes this.


  4. #4
    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    Tennessee Republican Congressman Marsha Blackburn had a real battle against former governor and Democrat Phil Bredesen to win a seat in the senate. This should not have been the case. Without the faithful support of President Trump she may have lost the election.

    Tennessee is going to be changing even more because of the onslaught of foreign citizens illegally present, the refugees shuttled in to the state, the power of the George Soros funded groups, including the TIRRC and others, and the push by republicans like Senator Todd Gardenhire to grant in state tuition and other goodies to illegal aliens.

    When you hear state lawmakers in Tennessee stand for the DACA illegal aliens, stand for their largely illegal Hispanic constituents, immigrants, and refugees against the American citizens you see the future of the state. Former Governor Bill Haslam fought hard for illegal aliens, for DACA, and against President Trump.

    It was distressing to have a representative confess that republicans had decided to go after Hispanics, a growing population, because they can gain no more from black Americans. With redistricting, some republicans like Senator Todd Gardenhire took in communities of illegal aliens.

    The cartels, human smuggling, sex trafficking, gangs, including MS13, document mills, other criminal activities followed the illegal alien invasion to Tennessee. Giving drivers licenses many years ago sowed seeds that cannot be weeded out.

    Illegal immigration threatens every state. We will see more turning purple and blue. Sadly, democrats republicans have not guarded the borders and sovereignty of America. The third world invasion and transformation through demographic and cultural assault marches on.
    Last edited by GeorgiaPeach; 11-09-2018 at 03:22 PM.
    Beezer and Judy like this.
    Matthew 19:26
    But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

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