EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser issued a statement on Oct. 20 regarding the recent migrant surge within the city and the closure of its migrant welcome center.

Leeser addresses the DHS policy and how it has significantly lowered the number of asylum seekers reaching the U.S.-Mexico border. According to Mayor Leeser, due to the recent policy, the welcome center has been closed as “it is no longer currently needed,” and how the policy should provide the majority of asylum seekers who qualify, with an opportunity to access a legal pathway into the U.S. and apply for a work visa. As we have previously reported, the welcome center was used to route migrants to their destination on charter buses.

The statement also includes the many partners including the Border Patrol, the White House, Homeland Security, CBP, the County, regional elected officials including Congresswoman Veronica Escobar and others that worked together during the migrant surge. Leeser goes over his decision on not issuing an emergency disaster declaration due to the crisis being managed with the everyone’s collaboration. “Our partners concurred with my decision that the circumstances did not warrant an emergency disaster declaration, as the crisis was managed with everyone’s collaboration,” said Mayor Leeser.

“The recently announced DHS policy has significantly lowered the number of asylum seekers reaching our border, we have closed our welcome center as it is no longer currently needed, and the new policy provides the majority of asylum seekers we were assisting – if they qualify – an opportunity for a legal pathway into our country as well as the opportunity to apply for a work visa,” he said.

The mayor finishes the statement by addressing his position on the matter and how his decisions are not based on political rhetoric or pressure. He also adds how he will continue to operate with integrity and the best interest of the citizens of El Paso.

“Should anything change, we are positioned to stand up our operations as needed. My position on this matter has been consistent throughout. I do not make decisions based on political rhetoric or pressure. I am grateful to our partners for their commitment to our country and our community. Everyone’s hard work has led us to the outcome in the best interest of all those involved. I will continue to operate as I always have, with integrity and in the best interest of the citizens of El Paso,” said Leeser.