EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Holiday leave has not been canceled for members of the 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss officials on post confirmed to KTSM on Friday morning.

Fort Bliss responded to concerns that the post unexpectedly canceled block leave should it be asked to prepare for an influx of migrants when Title 42 lifts on Dec. 21.

Title 42 is a public health order that restricts asylum at the border. At all levels of government, officials believe that once Title 42 ends, as a federal judge ordered, there will be a surge in migration at the southern border.

Local leaders within the El Paso Sector, which has been averaging 2,500 migrants apprehensions a day, say they have been communicating to federal officials that the ending of Title 42 is a “true emergency for the community.”

During a news conference via Zoom on Tuesday, El Paso Deputy City Manager Mario D’Agostino said there needs to be a federal operation and that he would like to see migrants housed at Fort Bliss similar to the housing of Afghan refugees.

“This Title 42 going away, with the numbers we’re seeing today, is a true emergency for the community,” he said. “It’s a federal crisis that’s happening within the border of El Paso.”

Fort Bliss stretches from El Paso County, Texas, to Otero and Doña Ana counties in New Mexico, where the army housed thousands of Afghan refugees in a camp in 2021.

KTSM 9 News fielded several calls from members of the Fort Bliss community saying that Fort Bliss canceled their holiday leave last-minute, but a Fort Bliss spokesperson said block leave was not canceled and that the post is “always training for contingency operations.”

“Leave is not canceled for 1st Armored Division,” the spokesperson said. “Fort Bliss units are always training for contingency operations, and in many cases are placed in a heightened state of readiness to answer our nation’s call. To date, we’ve received no order or request to conduct a specific operation associated with the southwest border, though like every day at Fort Bliss, our units continue to plan for a myriad of contingencies so that we are fully prepared if directed to execute any mission. Should any unit on Fort Bliss be directed to perform a specific contingency mission, we’ll release that information.

Fort Bliss

Other local leaders, including El Paso Mayor Leeser, have called on the federal government to use Fort Bliss resources to help as the end date for Title 42 looms.