Texas border towns were preparing for the arrival of more than 5,000 migrants a day at the Mexico border after pandemic-related immigration restrictions were lifted, plans to provide shelter for emergencies, food and other basic services were making. ,
El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego told The Associated Press that the region, one of the busiest border crossings in the country, was coordinating shelter and resettlement efforts with nongovernmental organizations and other cities. He asked state and federal governments to send humanitarian aid as he prepares for a massive wave of new immigrants starting Wednesday, when Title 42 public health measures are set to expire.
That rule has been used since March 2020 to block more than 2.5 million migrants from crossing the border to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection.
Forecasts call for temperatures to drop below freezing in the region this week. People wrapped in blankets donated by the Red Cross could be seen walking near the airport on Sunday.
El Paso Mayor Oscar Leiser issued a statewide emergency declaration on Saturday, allowing the border city to access additional resources at the local and state levels for shelter installations and other needed assistance.
Samaniego said the order came a day after El Paso officials sent a letter to Texas Governor Greg Abbott requesting humanitarian assistance for the area. He said the request was for resources to help care for and relocate newly arriving immigrants, not to send additional security elements.
The judge indicated that he has not received a response to the request and that if the city does not receive state aid soon, he plans to issue a countywide emergency declaration specifying the type of aid needed in the area.
The city of El Paso announced Wednesday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has pledged to send $6 million, but Samaniego said the region still needs to provide shelter, food and aid to recent immigrants. Millions of dollars are required. He urged the state and central government to provide additional funds.
“The strategy is already there, we know how to do it, we just need the resources,” Samaniego said. “We don’t need anyone to dictate how this is going to be done or how it will be done. We are one of the safest cities in the country… We are not asking for instructions, we are asking for resources ‘
Samaniego said city and county officials are working closely with non-governmental organizations to provide temporary shelter for migrants and assign them to sponsors, as well as help them relocate to larger cities from where they can take a flight or drive a bus to their final destinations.
Samaniego said city and county officials will join with nongovernmental organizations at the emergency command center starting Wednesday. Similar command centers have previously been set up for the response to COVID-19 and after the massacre at an El Paso Walmart store in 2019.
Neither Abbott nor El Paso city officials immediately responded to requests for comment.
Abbott has committed billions of dollars to “Operation Lone Star”, an unprecedented effort at border security that has involved busing migrants to “sanctuary” cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., as well as state There is also a large presence involved. agent and the National Guard on the Texas-Mexico border.
In addition, the Republican governor has promoted former President Donald Trump’s efforts to build a border wall on private land along the border with Mexico and raise money to finance the project.
Of the nine Border Patrol areas along the border with Mexico, El Paso was the fifth busiest until last March, and during October suddenly became the most popular, overtaking Del Rio, Texas. Which in turn changed the Rio Grande Valley at breakneck speed late last year.
The recent surge in activity in El Paso – initially by Venezuelans and more recently by Nicaraguans – was reminiscent of a brief period in 2019, when the western tip of Texas and the eastern reaches of New Mexico were quickly overwhelmed by the arrival of migrants from Cuba. Was overwhelmed by and Central America. For years, El Paso has been a relatively quiet area for illegal border crossings.
It is unknown why El Paso has become such a strong magnet, especially in September. Nicolas Palazzo, an attorney with the Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, an El Paso nonprofit advocacy group, suspects that the smugglers determined this was a good place to carry out their operations, echoing the widely held belief. The Border Patrol, with its limited ability to temporarily relocate agents, has a hard time maintaining such tactics.
Coronado reported from Austin, Texas.