EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The City of El Paso closed its Migrant Welcome Center in Northeast El Paso where migrants were being bused to their final destinations.

This occurred after the Department of Homeland Security announced a new policy where they began expelling Venezuelans who cross into the U.S. illegally back to Mexico under Title 42. Two charters left the center on Thursday for remaining migrants who did not have sponsors.

The City of El Paso had signed a contract for 16 months to bus migrants out of El Paso. A spokesperson for the city explained what happens with that contract as the city is not sending out more charter buses.

“The contract was an open contract in terms of up to a certain amount so it’s not that we have to expend the total amount it was an up to a certain amount,” said Laura Cruz-Acosta, a Spokesperson for the City of El Paso.

According to the city, the contract that was not to exceed $6 million will continue to exist and will eventually expire as it was for a total of 16 months.

“At any point and time this is a very fluid situation tomorrow the federal government could decide never mind were going to go backward and revert to what we previously had, then we could see another surge of migrants come in,” said Cruz-Acosta.

The City of El Paso began busing migrants on August 23 when a temporary site was set up. That site was only open one day and the Welcome Center in Northeast El Paso then opened the first week of September.

The city says a total of 292 charter buses left El Paso since they began sending them to New York and Chicago.

However, the city did not yet have the total amount that was spent to send those 292 charters.

The city hired more than 60 people to assist with the migrant surge, and according to the city, they will continue assisting.

“Although the policy change occurred that doesn’t necessarily mean that the migrant surge has stopped what we are seeing now are sponsored migrants entering the United States, those sponsored migrants are being supported by the NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations),” said Cruz-Acosta.

Due to a lack of volunteers at the NGO’s the city will provide staff at those organizations.

The County of El Paso also has a migrant processing facility but only for sponsored migrants and they do not provide transportation services.

El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego says for now the county facility will stay open and continue helping those migrants who have sponsors get in contact with them and make travel arraignments.

The County has a contract for over $6 million for The Providencia Group to run the facility that lasts until November of 2024.

Samaniego said they will continue doing the same and see how it’s going in December.

“FEMA paid us going back and going forward up to December so there’s no expenses whatsoever for the County all the way to December,” said Samaniego. “In January there’s some concern that FEMA might not want to reimburse if that happens our contracts are done in a way that we can back off of the contractor that’s there now,” said Samaniego.

While the number of Venezuelans crossing into El Paso has significantly decreased, Samaniego says it could pick up somewhere else.

“Now were having Nicaraguans that it’s increasing so people are thinking things are going to slow down. The numbers have slowed down but they’ll pick up somewhere else,” said Samaniego.

As we have reported border patrol has been flying migrants out of the El Paso Sector to other sectors for processing.

The County Judge adds that if other areas see an increase we could get flights from those sectors.

“If they start getting them they’ll send flights to us,” said Samaniego.

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