WASHINGTON — A group of 20 to 25 Venezuelan asylum seekers say they have been stranded at Union Station after arriving to the nation's capital on a bus from Texas.
The men say that families with children were given priority for bus tickets to their final destinations, and that members from the non-profit SAMU informed them that they did not have sufficient funds to provide them with transportation to New York City and Miami.
SAMU says that due to the demand, not all migrants arriving are guaranteed a bus ticket to their final destination. The organization says they have received a grant from FEMA to provide assistance for 1,500 to 2,000 migrants, but the numbers have doubled.
Some still have hopes to be reunited with family members in other states but others like Alfredo Guzman say they are willing to settle in the D.C. region.
"Help us with housing," said Guzman in Spanish to WUSA9. "If someone has a home and they can help us. What we want is to work. We have the will to work. We are fighters, we came for a better future."
Guzman and the men he now calls his friends have slept on the public area facing Union Station that is plagued with rats. The shelter in Silver Spring, Md. was at full capacity as of Friday afternoon.
The men are just one of the most recent groups of asylum seekers that have arrived to the nation's capital under Texas Governor Greg Abbott's plan to bus immigrants to D.C. as a response to Biden Administration's immigration response.
A group of D.C. residents felt compelled to help after seeing footage of the asylum seekers. They drove up to the area with bottles of water and snacks. One of the women said to WUSA, "I am a native Washingtonian. I am a government employee. It breaks my heart. They are human being. Shame on the Biden administration, shame on the DC government. Not in our backyards."
But finding a place to sleep is not the only concern on their minds. Luis Tovar says time is ticking to locate an address that they can provide to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, "We are worried because immigration asks us for a home to call them this Sunday, this Sunday is our deadline. If we do not call them, we do not know what we are going to do."
WUSA9 consulted an immigration lawyer who says that if an immigrant misses their check-ins with ICE, it can be used against them in their asylum case because it could be interpreted as if the individual fled.