SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A nonprofit called Miles4Migrants is turning donated points into free flights for asylum seekers who’ve arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border in south San Diego County.
Groups of migrants could be seen trying to navigate San Diego International Airport on Tuesday.
Tags issued by U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement strapped to their bags were the first clue the travelers were asylum seekers.
The migrants were charging their phones, attempting to book hotels, and figuring out how to get to other cities in the United States.
“Our sense is that 98% of individuals actually have a point of contact or loved one outside of San Diego that they're looking to connect with,” said Kate Clark, Senior Director of Immigration Services at Jewish Family Service of San Diego.
The nonprofit has been working with Miles4Migrants to get the most desperate on free flights from San Diego to their final destination.
“Our mission is to remove transportation barriers,” said Miles4Migrants executive director Glaydon de Freitas.
A man from Brazil told ABC 10News reporter Austin Grabish using Google Translate he was trying to get to Philadelphia.
He wasn’t aware of the Miles4Migrants charity and said he paid out of pocket for a flight.
De Freitas said in the last couple of weeks, about 70 asylum seekers have been given a free flight out of San Diego through his non-profit.
“The most vulnerable immigrants that we are seeing right now, it is of course women with children and women themselves.”
Anyone who wants to donate their frequent flier miles or credit card points can go to Miles4Migrants.org. Cash donations are also accepted.