EL PASO, TX (KTSM) – Director of Annunciation House, Ruben Garcia, held a press conference Wednesday morning urging city & county authorities and the federal government to add more hospitality sites for migrants ahead of the expected lift of Title 42 next week.

The Annunciation House network is already seeing an overwhelming number of migrants coming from Haiti, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela among other countries such as Guatemala and Colombia, Garcia said.

He explained that if the city, county and the federal government do not react before May 23, when Title 42 is expected to be lifted, it will already be too late.

I am concerned that if Title 42 is lifted that we will find ourselves, that people will start pointing fingers at each other which will bring nothing to bringing one more bed to the table.

Ruben Garcia, Director, Annunciation House

The Annunciation House network currently holds 15 hospitality sites that include the ones in El Paso, Las Cruces, Deming and Albuquerque.

The city and county are currently pledging some of their employees to volunteer at the shelter, but Garcia said that is only the first step.

He said city & county should take over one of their hospitality sites, so that Annunciation House could redirect some of their volunteers to open up new sites, which they cannot do at the moment due to the staffing shortage.

Enrique Duenas Aguilar, spokesperson for El Paso Fire Department, speaking on behalf of Office of Emergency Management said the city is currently in contct with the federal government, asking them to open Fort Bliss, just like they did for Afghan refugees.

The City has still not received any information from the federal government on the aid that will be provided, Duenas Aguilar said.

Garcia explained this weekend 119 migrants have been released to the streets in Downtown El Paso at the Sun Metro parking lot and he is expecting this will be a common sight if action is not taken immediately to expand the hospitality sites.

The vast majority of the migrants entering El Paso plan on moving to other parts of the country, he said.

Annunciation House helps them reach out to their friends and family and get means of transportation, so they can leave and wait for the next step in their immigration process.

“There are some officials that believe once Title 42 is lifted, that the number may become so great that it exceeds anything that city/county can do or that the NGOs can do,” Garcia said, adding “but that is not the reason for everyone who can bring something to the table to not bring something to the table.”

He is asking asking anyone willing to commit, who is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and can pass a background check to apply to volunteer.

“I’m asking to use the people of Poland as an example, what they have done in face of multi million exodus of Ukrainians and Poland saying this is what it means to be a human being, and to us. this is what it means to be a human being,” Garcia said.

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