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Migrants Bused From Church to Hotel as Region Faces Crisis

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Late Sunday afternoon, dozens of migrants boarded King County Metro busses and started the next leg of their journey. It’s unclear exactly how many people moved, but pregnant women and families with small children were prioritized for this first round of departures from Riverton Park United Methodist Church.

Prior to this, there were nearly 400 asylum seekers staying on the church property in Tukwila. After nearly a year of hosting migrants, 911 calls to the camp have gone up significantly with city leaders saying this is stretching public schools and the already-challenged homelessness support system in the region.

The group, made up of mostly Angolans and Venezuelans, were all smiles. Across the language barrier, you could see the sense of relief in their faces.

“The county is housing them at a hotel,” Pastor Jan Bolerjack says. She would not share where the migrants were being taken, but volunteers working with the migrants say they ended up at the Doubletree Hotel in Seatac just a few miles away.

I reached out to King County Executive Dow Constantine’s office for an update but did not hear back. Sources say they’re looking at a regional approach to address the migrant crisis and want nearby cities to take some of them in. It’s unclear when or where the rest of these men, women, and children will be moved.

Jonathan Choe

Journalist and Senior Fellow, Center on Wealth and Poverty
Jonathan Choe is a journalist and Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute's Center on Wealth and Poverty, covering homelessness issues for its Fix Homelessness initiative. Prior to joining Discovery, Choe spent several years as one of the lead reporters at KOMO-TV, consistently the top rated television station in Seattle. His in depth stories on crime and deep dive investigations into the homeless crisis led to measurable results in the community, including changes in public policy. Choe has more than two decades of experience in television news behind the scenes and in front of the camera for ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, and Tribune. He has also been nominated and honored with multiple industry awards including an Emmy. Choe spent several years teaching classes on emerging media and entrepreneurship to under privileged youth in inner city Chicago. As an independent journalist, Choe also contributes regularly to the Mill Creek View and Lynnwood Times and has reported on exclusive stories in the past year for Daily Wire and The Postmillennial.