EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The City of El Paso said the news of eight people being killed outside of a bus stop in Brownsville, Texas over the weekend reinforced its decision to shut down a Downtown Street that’s adjacent to the migrant camp at Sacred Heart Church.
“There is a concern that there is going to be an accident in that area. There’s also concerns in terms of the public health component to all of this,” said Laura Cruz Acosta, a spokesperson for the City of El Paso.
The City made the announcement late Saturday night, hours before the tragedy in Brownsville, that it was closing Father Rahm Street between Oregon and Mesa.
Migrants sleeping on the streets outside of the church say they are more on edge.
“We also have kids, families, kids that play here on the sidewalk close to the street where the cars circulate. We are being more careful when it comes to that situation,” said Gabriella Viloria from Venezuela.
Nearby business owners and employees tell KTSM that it’s not just the area directly next to Sacred Heart that’s being impacted.
In an alleyway, one street over, signs can be seen that say in Spanish: “Don’t pee or poop here, please”.
“For the signs, it just says, please don’t use the restroom. Don’t pee. Don’t poop in the alleys because it does stink up the place and it gives a bad image of Downtown El Paso,” said a man who works next to the alley who didn’t want to give his name.
In the alleyway, a Dumpster could be seen overflowing and people were cutting hair next it. The area also smelled of feces.
KTSM 9 News asked the City of El Paso about the concerns of people using the allyways as restrooms.
“In addition to the closure, we’ve also increased the number of portable restrooms in addition to washing stations. We understand the situation is still not enough so we will continue to see an increase,” Cruz Acosta said.
The city also shut down streetcar service.
Cruz Acosta says there is no timeline on when the street will reopen.
With the increase of migrants coming into El Paso and Title 42 set to be lifted on Thursday, the El Paso Police Department says drivers should use extra caution when driving near the border or in Downtown.
“Many migrants have been crossing major roadways in large groups,” read a press release from the City of El Paso.