EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – As El Paso sees a daily average of over 1,500 migrants crossing the border from Mexico to the United States, the City of El Paso Deputy City Manager says this is a refugee situation.

“It’s truly a refugee situation it’s not a migration issue, these people are allowed into the country, they have no means to get to where they want to go first of all. Second of all, they don’t have the ability’s to go straight to work. So we’re not giving them the tools they need to be successful,” said D’Agostino.

The majority of the migrants crossing are coming from Venezuela and according to the City of El Paso, about half do not have sponsors in the United States.

“What we really need help with is from the federal level and that’s what we’ve talked about that, that’s change in policy and addressing the situation as it is,” said D’Agostino.

Suggesting that the model used in El Paso for the refugees that came from Afghanistan back in 2021.

“So by utilizing the model such as what was done with the Afghan and what was done with the Afghan village out here in our region, that’s a model where they can get them in, they can get the skills set they need and the tools they need to be successful on their own. That’s our number one ask,” said D’Agostino.

Army Veteran Yama Jan is now living in the U.S. after he served for four years and was also a translator in Afghanistan. Some of his family members came to the United States as refugees from Afghanistan back in 2021. Jan spoke with KTSM 9 News about the situation of migrants coming to the U.S. without sponsors.

“It would be very difficult for them to survive without a sponsor and without having legal documents to work in the United States, and living in the United States is very expensive as you know and if you don’t have any financial support or income it would be very difficult to live here in the states,” said Yama Jan a U.S. Veteran from Afghanistan.

Deputy City Manager D’Agostino telling KTSM 9 News that U.S. Customs and Border Protection needs to look at how migrants are being released.

“There’s a large number of migrants that are being released here locally and that number cannot be withheld,” said D’Agostino.

El Paso County Commissioner for Precinct three and also an attorney specializing in immigration and nationality law Iliana Holguin speaking with KTSM 9 News about the differences between refugees and people coming to the country to seek asylum.

She explains that the difference between a person who is a refugee and a person who is seeking asylum is when that determination is made.

“If a person is determined to have been persecuted in their country and the determination is made while they are still in their country then they are considered a refugee and they will come into the United States with refugee status already,” said Holguin.

She adds that those who come to seek asylum do not come to the U.S. with any predetermined status.

“If a person comes to the U.S. because they are fleeing persecution but they haven’t been determined to be a refugee then they are coming basically to seek asylum, so they are still fleeing persecution, but their application for asylum is going to be done here when they are in the U.S,” said Holguin. “So, they don’t come to the U.S. with any predetermined status.

For local and breaking news, sports, weather alerts, video and more, download the FREE KTSM 9 News App from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.