(KTXL) — Sacramento city and faith leaders held a news conference Tuesday morning to provide an update on the 36 migrants who were transported to Sacramento from out-of-state on two separate flights in the last week.
Mayor Darrell Steinberg, the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento, and Sacramento-area faith and clergy leaders spoke at the conference.
Dean Matthew Woodward of Trinity Cathedral opened the conference with a reference to the Bible in which Jesus said “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”
Gabby Trejo, Executive Director of Sacramento ACT, who referred to the migrants as “our new neighbors”, said the migrants were mostly young people who were the first in their families to come to the United States.
A volunteer from Sacramento ACT said one of the migrants who came from Colombia came to send money back to his family and that two of the people he traveled with died.
Recordings of two of the migrants were also played at the conference from an attendee’s phone.
In one a man thanks the city for its support.
“I am very grateful,” a man’s voice is heard saying in Spanish. “Long live the people of Sacramento.”
In a second recording, a woman describes her experience.
“My experience has been unique and I have never been treated more kindly, in spite of the circumstances,” she says, also in Spanish.
Trejo said the migrants did not know where they were headed when they got on the plane, which took off from El Paso, Texas.
Cecilia Flores with Sacramento ACT said some migrants were approached outside of a migrant center by people representing themselves as an organization that would relocate them for shelter and job opportunities.
Flores said that when the first group of migrants arrived in Sacramento, they were taken by a bus to the Catholic Diocese offices and dropped off.
Steinberg said the officials were looking into who contracted the bus.
The migrants’ current living situation was not disclosed, though Steinberg said they were well cared for and in good spirits.
Steinberg thanked the religious community for its support of the migrants and said the city could have no other response.
“Bring it on,” Steinberg said. “Our community will never say no.”
Those looking to donate to help the migrants were asked to visit the Sacramento ACT website.
Donations made in the next two weeks will go to help the migrants, a Sacramento ACT volunteer said.
According to officials, 16 adults from Venezuela and Colombia were dropped off at a Sacramento church on Friday. They traveled from Texas and have pending court appearances.
A second group of 20 migrants was flown to Sacramento on Monday on the same private chartered jet.
Attorney General Rob Bonta said the state is investigating the flights, but the migrants were in possession of documents purporting to be from Florida.
They are coordinating with other agencies to provide the migrants in Sacramento support.
It’s not yet known if they will be staying in Sacramento or how long they will be in the area if they do not stay, but officials said they will be helping them as they figure out their next steps.