El Paso Mayor Dee Margo addressed the release of hundreds of migrants at the downtown Greyhound station during the Christmas holiday as a crisis.
Margo said migrants being being dropped off by ICE with no money and nowhere to go is a federal problem for which El Paso is having to pick up the pieces.
He said, “[Customs and Border Protection] was supposed to let us know when they were releasing [the migrants] so we could have shelters and volunteers ready and [CBP] didn’t so that was a quick crisis.”
Margo said the City of El Paso’s Emergency Management team has been using resources to help the more than 600 migrants who have been released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in El Paso so far.
“Sun metro has been providing transportation from the Greyhound station to shelters and it is a tough situation because we used to have a few hundred a week and now we’re getting a few thousand,” Margo told KTSM.
According to Margo, the City cannot use federal or state dollars to help the migrants who have been dropped off because there is a threshold required for that to happen. He says the state threshold required to declare an emergency is $34-million.
“Nobody is happy about it,” said Margo. “Somebody texted me and said ‘why don’t you call Trump?’ and I said, well if he would listen to me I would, but the bottom line is we’re dealing with symptoms of problems that have not been resolved because Congress, on both sides hasn’t had the fortitude to deal with it properly.”
Regardless of the number of migrants being released, which Margo said is overwhelming local shelters, he says the City is prepared to respond to whatever extent.
Margo told KTSM these migrants have been processed and given ankle bracelets before being released. Margo said the migrants do not stay in El Paso, rather they travel to wherever their sponsors or family are.