A charity has stepped in to bus migrants out of overrun border crossing El Paso — after the city shut down services to help its own bus program that ferried 11,000 immigrants to New York City. 

The Texas city is dealing with 1,400 people attempting to cross the border everyday and Border Patrol said it was forced to release over 600 people onto the streets this week because shelters have nowhere to house them.

Immigrant aid organization Annunciation House has stepped in to alleviate the problem, setting up a new route to send migrants to Denver, Colorado. About 50 immigrants were taken to Denver Community Church last week. The church will feed and house them, help connect them with friends and family in the US and send them on to whichever destination they are hoping to get to.

“You’ve got to be prepared to respond,” said Ruben Garcia, the director of Annunciation House, adding that he is working to recruit more churches across the country.

The City of El Paso, Texas bussed immigrants to New York City from late August to mid-October.
El Paso, Texas, bused immigrants to New York City from late August to mid-October.
REUTERS

The immigrants were taken to a local community church which will feed and house them, help connect them with friends and family in the US and send them on to whichever destination they are hoping to get to.

“You’ve got to be prepared to respond,” said Ruben Garcia, the director of Annunciation House.

“We appeal to faith communities … that ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me,” he added, quoting the Bible. 

“We ask faith communities in cities in the interior of the United States to reflect on that and to ask themselves, ‘Might we be willing to receive a bus of refugees? Is this something that we could do periodically?’”

El Paso city government has recently stopped a program it had set up which bused 14,000 migrants from the border to New York and Chicago.

The city had spent $8.9 million on the migrant crisis so far, feeding immigrants, putting them in hotels and transporting them. El Paso has only received $2.2 million back in federal reimbursement, though, and put the brakes on further spending.

Migrants, mostly from Venezuela, queue to board a bus to New York at the Migrant Welcome Center managed by the city of El Paso and the Office of Emergency Management, in El Paso, Texas, U.S., September 16, 2022. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez
Migrants, mostly from Venezuela, line up for a bus to NYC from El Paso, Texas, in September.
REUTERS
Ruben Garcia, the director of Annunciation House in El Paso, Texas, has started bussing immigrants to churches that will accept them.
Ruben Garcia, the director of Annunciation House in El Paso, has started busing immigrants to churches that will accept them.
KVIA

“We’re waiting on $7 million in reimbursement and we’re going to need to see some approval or some advanced funding before we start any other operations,” said El Paso Deputy City Manager Mario D’Agostino at a city meeting Monday.

Meanwhile, El Paso’s mayor – who previously said he was told not to declare a state of emergency by the White House –  said the city would not be bringing back its bus program.

“We are not looking to get into the transportation business again,” Oscar Leeser said.

Leeser did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment on his changing position on managing the migrant crisis.

The bussing effort by Annunciation House is different than the one operated by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, which is still transporting immigrants from the Texas border daily. 

Abbott began bussing migrants to Washington, DC, in April and later added so called sanctuary cities to the mix, bussing at least 8,300 migrants to the US capital, over 3,500 migrants to New York City and more than 1,100 migrants to Chicago since August.

El Paso began chartering buses in August when it ran out of shelter space. 

Since August, the number of immigrants arriving in Texas's sixth largest city has surged-- stretching resources. Above, the US Border Patrol in El Paso processes large crowds of immigrants in an outdoor, mobile processing center.
Since August, the number of immigrants arriving in Texas’s sixth-largest city has surged. Above, El Paso Border Patrol processes large crowds of immigrants.
REUTERS

Local leaders repeatedly said its program was not like Abbott’s because they let immigrants choose their destination — with most opting for New York City and Chicago.

Meanwhile, El Paso’s mayor — who previously said he was told not to declare a state of emergency by the White House — said the city would not be bringing back its bus program.

“We are not looking to get into the transportation business again,” Oscar Leeser said.

Leeser did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment on his changing position on managing the migrant crisis.



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