On Wednesday, November 16, 2022, the City of Philadelphia welcomed individuals seeking asylum who were bused from Texas. As a proud welcoming city, we will greet our newly arrived neighbors with dignity and respect. City agencies, Office of Emergency Management (OEM) mass care partners, immigrant leaders, and immigrant-serving nonprofits are working together to welcome, assist, and provide support to these individuals and families.

We want to acknowledge the generosity and compassion we have already seen from residents and community partners since we were alerted to these individuals arriving in Philadelphia. Below is more information about how you can get involved and help Philadelphia’s newest arrivals.

How you can help

Donate to the Welcoming Fund

The City of Philadelphia’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia have launched the Philadelphia Welcoming Fund to allow Philadelphia residents the opportunity to contribute to local efforts to welcome immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers arriving in Philadelphia.

The funds collected by the Welcoming Fund will be provided to nonprofit organizations in the Philadelphia area that are supporting arriving immigrant communities. 

Please keep in mind that donated supplies cannot be accepted at this time. 

Updates

November 25, 2022

On Friday, November 25, the City reported that approximately 71 asylum seekers traveled from Texas to Philadelphia via bus. Upon arrival at 30th Street Station, 49 of them were transported to the City’s welcoming facility on E. Luzerne Street in North Philadelphia. Many of them are from Colombia, Cuba, Panama, Peru, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic, and have been fully screened by Customs and Border Patrol before arriving in Philadelphia.

November 21, 2022

On November 21, the City of Philadelphia welcomed the second bus of asylum seekers from Texas. 46 asylum seekers traveled from Texas to Philadelphia via bus. Upon arrival at 30th Street Station, 29 of them were transported to the City’s welcoming facility on E. Luzerne Street in North Philadelphia. Many of them are from Colombia, Cuba, Panama, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic, and have been fully screened by Customs and Border Patrol before arriving in Philadelphia.

Services we’ve provided

Immediately upon arrival, individuals were greeted by the City’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA), the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, an array of non-profit partners as well as local hospitals providing the following services:

  • Emergency health screening.
  • Shelter space.
  • Food and water.
  • Legal services.
  • Social services.
  • On-site language interpretation.

What does it mean to seek asylum?

Families seeking asylum have arrived in Philadelphia. Asylum is a form of protection available to anyone at risk of serious harm in their home country who must leave in search of safety in another country. 

The first step for a person seeking asylum is to leave one’s home, one of the most challenging decisions a person will ever make. In fleeing their home country, they must leave behind everything they’ve ever known—their friends, family, home, job, personal belongings, and sense of security. 

Asylum seekers often embark on dangerous journeys across land and sea to reach a new country. Learn more about asylum seekers at the UN Refugee Agency

Additional resources for asylum seekers

In the Philadelphia region, Nationalities Services Center and HIAS Pennsylvania are among the nonprofit organizations offering immigration legal services to immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers, including our new arrivals. The Philadelphia region also has a thriving sector of immigrant-serving organizations that have stepped up to support these communities. They include Casa De Venezuela, Gente De Venezuela, Juntos, New Sanctuary Movement, Aquinas Community Center, PA Immigrant Family Unity Project (PAIFUP), PA Immigration and Citizenship Coalition, Alianza Latina.

If there are other resources not listed here that would be helpful, please email OIA@phila.gov and the Office of Immigrant Affairs can look into updating the list accordingly. Please allow 2 to 3 business days for a response.