EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — It’s almost been one month since the City of El Paso started busing migrants out of El Paso.

The first transport left on Aug. 23. Since then, the deputy city manager says over 60 charter buses have left El Paso, taking migrants to both New York and Chicago.

As we reported, the City of El Paso approved $2 million to bus migrants out of El Paso, which is reimbursable through FEMA.

However, a spokesperson from the city did tell KTSM 9 News that any expenses after July 1 will not be submitted to FEMA until the quarter closes out at the end of September.

Deputy City Manager Mario D’Agostino said that they have been in contact with officials in New York, and that they ask the migrants where they want to go, with the majority wanting to go to New York or Chicago.

“We are having daily conversations with them. We are finding out that there are some that maybe that isn’t the destination that they wanted. That’s hard for us to process. We continue to improve our process. We actually now have a map up. We’re showing them different areas and we’re making sure we ask them multiple times where is it that you want to go,” D’Agostino said.

The migrants take the charters and leave from the City of El Paso Welcome Center in Northeast El Paso.

On Monday, the County Commissioners Court approved moving forward with the opening of their own processing facility.

The County is focusing on single adults who have sponsors, to help them get in contact and make travel arrangements.

KTSM 9 News asked the city if they have been working with the county when it comes to the processing facilities. Both governments operate what seem to be similar facilities.

“It might seem like a duplication of efforts. There were no efforts being done so we stepped up and we started providing the services that were needed,” D’Agostino said.

However, neither the city of the county facility provides shelter.

On Monday County Judge Ricardo Samaniego told KTSM 9 News that the city had originally said they would focus on shelter for migrants.

“I want to challenge the city because they were supposed to take the shelter lane. We’re going to take the process lane so we are still looking at and asking them to look at that shelter possibility,” Samaniego said on Monday.

KTSM 9 News asked D’Agostino about the communication between the city and the county.

“We talked several months back when Title 42 was going to get lifted so the communications were there, that they were going to look at a processing center and we were going to look at sheltering. We looked at various options for sheltering. That’s when we hired the 50 staff to come on board and start helping out with the NGOs to keep their system afloat because volunteerism has been down since COVID,” D’Agostino said.

D’Agostino added that the city also started utilizing hotels when there are capacity issues.

D’Agostino says one of the biggest issues at the moment is having enough transportation out of El Paso.

“I’m not saying that more processing wouldn’t help, but at the end of the day, it’s about having more means of transportation because there are only so many seats out of El Paso daily and if these numbers continue, we won’t be able to process,” D’Agostino said.

He said they are finding out now that they cannot get same-day travel from the Greyhound bus station to the East Coast, and also it impacts the number of flights available out of El Paso as well.

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