The City of El Paso, Texas is getting flooded with 900 immigrants a day, according to officials, who said they’ve been forced to bus many of them out of town over an inability to handle the mass migration.
The crisis in El Paso came to a boiling point Tuesday night when city leaders were told by federal immigration officials that 500 asylum-seeking immigrants from Venezuela made up of women and children would be released into the streets unless the city could house them.
“This number was going to be above and beyond what our local [shelter] was prepared to take,” said Jorge Rodriguez of El Paso’s Office of Emergency Management.
To avoid having women and children sleeping on the streets, some of the families were put up in hotels or sent to El Paso’s homeless shelter, The Opportunity Center.
“I saw an infant as young as two or three months, and you should ask yourself, do you want that infant in the streets,” shelter director John Martin said.
About a third of those 500 immigrants were put on charter buses to New York City Thursday through Sunday where the non-profit Grannies Respond received them.
“These charters that we set up last week and that we helped facilitate to help a strained system, but in all actuality, these charters only accounted for 133 people,” said El Paso Deputy City Manager Mario D’Agostino.
Texas’s sixth largest city is seeing about 900 immigrants a day apprehended at the border, said D’Agostino. Last week alone, the city’s shelters took in 2,235 immigrants. This month, 8,400 immigrants moved through the border city on their way to their final destinations in the interior of the country.
While city leaders said there weren’t immediate plans for more immigrant buses out of El Paso, they didn’t rule out using buses to alleviate the load carried by El Paso shelters if the need arises again.
El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego previously told The Post that local leaders would not allow immigrants to be released to the streets for the safety of the immigrants and to protect the city’s tourism.
Local leaders were also quick to point out that the buses leaving El Paso are being run by the City of El Paso, not the State of Texas. Gov. Greg Abbott started a controversial bussing program to transport asylum seekers from the Texas border to Washington, D.C. in April. Abbott added New York City as a destination in June.
“These migrants are in our country legally,” said D’Agostino. “They are allowed to be here. We are the Paso Del Norte; we are the pass. There’s thousands of people passing through our community on a daily basis. They have sponsors. They’re getting to cities across the country. This just happened to be a group that didn’t have the funding so we did the next best thing.”