El Paso, a border city in Texas, issued a state of emergency on Saturday due to the thousands of migrants detained daily and the hundreds camping on the streets in the freezing weather.
The emergency declaration would allow local authorities the means and capability to house migrants who have crossed the Mexican border, according to Democratic Mayor Oscar Leeser.
“We wanted to guarantee that everyone is treated with respect. We want to ensure everyone is secure, “Leeser informed the media.
The decision was made when El Paso, a Democratic stronghold with a history of embracing immigrants, has struggled to deal with the tens of thousands of migrants who have been trying to cross the border with Mexico in recent months. The city is preparing for a potential increase in migrant arrivals after a US judge mandated that Title 42 border restrictions from the COVID era be lifted by December 21.
President Joe Biden, a Democrat who took office in January 2021, has seen a record number of migrants detained attempting to cross the border with the United States. This has fueled criticism from Republican rivals who support stricter immigration laws.
According to statistics released by the city, during the past week, U.S. border officers have seen an average of more than 2,400 migrants every day in a 268-mile section of the border known as the El Paso Sector, a 40% increase from October.
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Even though local shelters are at capacity and migrants have been sleeping on the streets as the temperature drops below freezing, the administration is moving migrants from El Paso to other American towns.
El Paso’s deputy city manager, Mario D’Agostino, said the emergency declaration would also give the city more choices for busing migrants to other sites and assistance from state law enforcement.
The city started a busing scheme that moved roughly 14,000 migrants to New York and Chicago as migrant arrivals spiked in late August, claiming that many Venezuelans were arriving without U.S. sponsors.
The city stopped the program in October when the Biden administration sent Venezuelans back to Mexico under Title 42. Still, D’Agostino indicated on Thursday that it might resume if Venezuelans are once more permitted to enter El Paso.
On Friday, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected a bid by several Republican-led state attorneys general in the United States to intervene in a lawsuit seeking to maintain Title 42. The U.S. Supreme Court could hear an appeal from the states.