‘We have an emergency’: Organization says influx of immigrants arriving in Charlotte from border

CHARLOTTE — There’s currently an immigrant influx in Charlotte as local activists said hundreds of people are arriving on buses daily from the Texas border.

Organizations said they are maxed out and desperately need help as immigrants continue to arrive. It’s a problem playing out in multiple cities in the United States, and Channel 9 and Telemundo Charlotte are now learning the Queen City is one of them.

A family from Venezuela is one of many that made the harrowing journey. In a video, a woman can be heard saying, “Here we go in the name of God, crossing the Rio Grande, searching for a better life.”

“We saw lots of dead bodies. A lot of things I hope nobody sees because it’s so hard to witness,” Rafael Arau said.

Arau and his family are now in Charlotte, one of hundreds who the Latin American Coalition said are bused from the southern border.

“Right now, we have an emergency,” said Jose Hernandez Paris, with the coalition.

Since May, the coalition said 1,400 immigrants have arrived by bus to Charlotte. A majority are from Venezuela, with others from Columbia, Nicaragua and other countries.

Leaders of the coalition said the influx of immigrants is outpacing the housing and services available.

“Literally, we’re picking them up at times at the bus station with a child and have no money, no food, no shelter, no connection,” Paris said.

The Texas governor told Channel 9 that the state itself is sending buses of immigrants to Washington, D.C. and New York City in “response to the Biden Administration’s open border policies overwhelming Texas communities.”

Texas officials said they are not sending immigrants to Charlotte, but Latino leaders said it doesn’t matter who is, they’re just begging the city and county to help.

“To be proactive instead of waiting for a situation of crisis when we have families, literally families on the streets that we already have, to add to that pile of families on the streets,” Paris said.

For now, they’re turning to emergency shelters, some of which are already full. It’s forcing them to plead with anyone to open door to help.

“If you feel like you can do, please let us know,” Paris said.

The Latin American Coalition said one of the reasons these immigrants are being sent to Charlotte is because there’s an immigration court here.

Statement from ICE:

“We are not involved and have no information about this situation.”

Statement from the city of Charlotte:

“The city is aware of an increased number of immigrants. The city has been communicating with the Latin American Coalition and other area organizations and working to support them.”

Full statement from Mecklenburg County:

“We’ve found no indication of outreach to Mecklenburg County to assist in such a situation. That includes Homeless Services’ Coordinated Entry, the County’s lead agency in connecting homeless individuals to services and resources, which has received no requests of this nature.”

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