McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — The mayor of Laredo, Texas has declared a state of emergency due to increasing numbers of migrants being processed in his border city, as well as those expected when Title 42 lifts.
The order signed by Laredo Mayor Dr. Victor Treviño went into effect on Sunday and is good for seven days, he told Border Report.
On Monday evening, the Laredo City Council is expected to vote on extending the measure, according to their agenda.
It comes as the mayor of the West Texas city of El Paso, also has declared a state of emergency due to thousands of migrants crossing there.
“This is a declaration of disaster that is a tool that we are using to prepare for the increases, increasing amount of migrants that will be having when they are transferred from other areas,” Treviño told Border Report on Monday.
According to the declaration: “Extraordinary measures must be taken to alleviate the process and transfer of the migrants.”
Treviño said that asylum-seekers aren’t currently crossing in droves from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, their city sister, but says the city is receiving hundreds at U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facilities from El Paso. They also are receiving migrants from the Rio Grande Valley, including Brownsville, where thousands of migrants last week began crossing daily from Mexico.
“I do want to make the point that these are not migrants crossing in here in the Laredo border, but these are migrants being transferred here from other places, and to be processed here in Laredo. But because of this, we don’t want to be faced with an overwhelming amount, and we’re not prepared. So this is the reason for this for this declaration,” Treviño said.
He said that currently, CBP facilities in Laredo have 1,500 migrants; The total capacity is 2,000. So he says he is worried that they will run out of room and migrants will be released onto the streets of Laredo.
“We only have two NGOs, and that is the problem. If the NGOs become overwhelmed then we won’t have that place to put them, and there’ll be a winding up in the streets. So that is a thing that that we need to look out for,” Treviño said.
The declaration will allow the City of Laredo to initiate its emergency management plan to activate, police, fire, medical and nonprofit help to deal with asylum-seeking migrants who are released into Laredo, he said. There are three phases to their plan, depending on the numbers released.
“It allows us to enact the plans, the plans that are available depending on the amount of migrants that we have coming from other places. So this has to be in place already, started before they get here. So this is a preparedness thing,” Treviño said.
The City Council is expected to discuss which level, if any, they will activate in Monday evening’s meeting, which starts at 5:30 p.m.