Saturday, June 3, 2023

El Paso mayor declares state of emergency over influx of migrants from Mexico border

by Tim Reed and Ted Hesson

(Reuters) – The mayor of the Texas border city of El Paso declared a state of emergency on Saturday, with hundreds of migrants sleeping on the streets in freezing temperatures and thousands more being rounded up every day.

Mayor Oscar Lesser, a Democrat, said the emergency declaration would give city officials the resources and ability to shelter migrants crossing the Mexican border.

“We wanted to make sure people were treated with respect. We want everyone to be safe,” Leiser told reporters.

The move comes as El Paso, a Democratic bastion with a history of welcoming immigrants, has struggled to deal with thousands of migrants crossing the border with Mexico in recent months. The city is bracing for a potential surge in migrant arrivals after a US judge ordered the COVID-era border restrictions, known as Title 42, to expire by December 21.

A record number of migrants have been caught crossing the US-Mexico border under President Joe Biden, a Democrat who takes office in January 2021, drawing attacks from Republican opponents who support tougher policies.

US border agents have encountered an average of more than 2,400 migrants per day along a 268-mile section of the border known as the El Paso sector in the past week, a 40% increase from October, according to data published by the city. There is growth.

Even though government officials are moving migrants from El Paso to other US cities, local shelters are beyond capacity and migrants are sleeping on the streets as temperatures drop below freezing.

El Paso’s deputy city manager, Mario D’Agostino, said the emergency declaration would also provide the city with additional transportation options to bus migrants to other locations, and additional help from state law enforcement “to protect the migrants and the community at large.” “

The city announced on December 14 that it expected to receive $6 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide food, shelter and transportation.

As migrant arrivals surged in late August, the city launched a bus program that sent some 14,000 migrants to New York and Chicago, saying many Venezuelans were coming from across the border without American sponsors to fund their journey. Were staying

The city halted the program in October when the Biden administration began deporting Venezuelans back to Mexico under Title 42, but may restart it if Venezuelans are allowed to cross into El Paso again. There are, D’Agostino said on Thursday.

(Reporting by Tim Reid and Ted Hesson; Editing by Chris Reese)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters,

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