El Paso, Texas (KTSM) — The City of El Paso will be closing part of a Downtown street next to Sacred Heart Church, officials announced late Saturday night, May 6.

Father Rahm Avenue will be closed immediately between South Oregon and South Mesa streets. The street is next to Sacred Heart Church where hundreds of migrants have been camped out in recent days.

The closure is a “necessary public safety precaution needed to attend to the growth of migrants who have arrived in the area over the last several weeks,” a news release from the City stated.

The closure will also allow City staff the opportunity to clean and maintain the area.

City officials say they want to remind the public that they cannot enforce federal immigration laws but are working closely with state and federal partners to provide support to the community and local NGOs (nongovernment organizations).

Public Safety Reminder

Many migrants have been crossing major roadways in large groups, City officials say. Motorists should use extra caution when traveling on roadways near the border and Downtown area. Drivers are asked to slow down and warn other motorists if you see a hazard ahead. It is also important not to pick up or try to give rides to anyone in those areas. 

As a general public safety reminder, the community should always be aware of their surroundings. The community should also report any suspicious activity immediately by calling 911. In addition, the community should remember to lock their vehicles and not leave behind items of value. Finally, at home, the community should remember to lock all doors and windows.    

Streetcar Closure

Effective Sunday, May 7, streetcar service along both the Lower and Upper Loops will be suspended until further notice to accommodate the City’s response to the humanitarian migrant crisis issue impacting Downtown City services.