Haitian immigrant families taken to El Paso shelter, single adults returned to Haiti, County Judge says


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – An El Paso shelter known for caring for migrants began caring for Haitian migrant families flown-in from Del Rio while single adults are being returned to their country.

Annunciation House, a migrant shelter, tells KTSM 9 News they were preparing to receive more Haitian migrants from Del Rio on Friday.

El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego says it’s unclear how long the shelter will receive Haitian families but does anticipate more will come.

“We have about 2,000 (individual migrants) and it’s the first time that we’re now diverting them to Annunciation house. So, all the family units are going to Annunciation House and the single (Haitian migrants) are going back to Haiti,” Samaniego said.

The adults are being flown back under Title 42, which has to do with COVID-19 concerns, according to Samaniego.

“If title 42 is lifted then we cannot send them back to their country,” said Samaniego.

The Department of Homeland Security told BorderReport.com why Haitian migrants were being sent back to their country under the Title 42 policy and why families are allowed to stay behind.

“DHS continues to expel migrants under CDC’s Title 42 authority. Those who cannot be expelled under Title 42 and do not have a legal basis to remain are placed in expedited or full removal proceedings. Individuals who are not immediately repatriated are either placed in Alternatives to Detention, detained in an ICE facility, or released with a legal document (either a Notice to Appear in court or notice to report to an ICE office for further immigration processing). The document an individual receives is dependent on facility space and resources available to process,” DHS said in the statement sent to Border Report.

Samaniego says El Paso has enough capacity to care for migrants being flown in from Del Rio, despite an influx of migrants through the Southern border.

“If you start having more of a flow of then less that you’re sending out then obviously that’s when we begin to get some issues,” said Samaniego.

Samaniego says he can reach out to other organizations in New Mexico if help is needed to care for the migrants.

“So at this point, it’s not a crisis it’s very manageable,” said Samaniego. “But it’s always depending on the amount. We were concerned that they were concerned that they were being diverted from Acuna, that city up there that has a lot of Haitians up there into other areas. But we haven’t seen that, caravans or anything coming directly to El Paso.”

As for how many more Haitian migrants are expected to arrive in El Paso from Del Rio, the County Judge says more are expected to arrive but does not know for how long.

“It will continue because remember they are not handling them in Del Rio and other border city’s are not managing them and we are very good at processing,” said Samaniego.

As for testing the migrants arriving from Del Rio to El Paso for COVID-19, the Office of Emergency Management is assisting.

“Through the Office of Emergency Management, we continue to assist our local NGOs with testing kits, deploying testing teams as needed, and assessing NGO needs as migrants are released to their care from federal immigration agencies,” said Enrique Duenas a Spokesperson for the El Paso Fire Department.

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