El Paso Migrant Disaster Announcement to Expire

Fewer migrant encounters, empty shelters prompt council to take no action on proposed extension

EL PASO, TX (border report) – As migrants are found far along the border and some shelters have already been emptied, the city of El Paso will allow a 30-day disaster declaration to expire in the next few days.

“We will let it go. We do not believe it is required or necessary at this stage,” City Manager Tommy Gonzalez said at a City Council meeting on Tuesday. “If another declaration of emergency is required, we will go to you (Mayor Oscar Lizer) to make sure you declare it.”

The council issued a 30-day disaster declaration on December 23 due to the “humanitarian, economic and security crisis” caused by mass migration through El Paso. Thousands of migrants were surrendering to border guards at the time, days before the expected termination of the federal Section 42 removal law that kept some asylum seekers out. The shelters were overcrowded and immigration officials were forced to release hundreds of foreign parolees into the streets.

The declaration of a state of emergency enabled the city to tap into public resources and brought the nation’s attention to the struggle of local governments to fill gaps in food, housing and transportation for migrants. The city spent $9.87 million on migrants last year and received $6 million in federal refunds, the city’s online migrant dashboard showed on Tuesday.

Mass migration in the region has plummeted after the U.S. Supreme Court put an end to expulsions of public health-related migrants on Dec. 27, possibly until June, and the Texas Army National Guard expanded a temporary barbed-wire fence along the Rio Grande opposite neighboring Juarez. Mexico.

Lizer noted that not a single migrant has been released onto the streets of El Paso “for several weeks now.” Gonzalez said two elementary schools given to the city as emergency migrant shelters by the El Paso Independent School District no longer have migrants.

Migration to El Paso in numbers. (El Paso city timeline)

The state of emergency is valid until 22th, but I’ve been talking to (City Attorney Carla) Nieman and Mr. Gonzalez and we don’t feel like we need it at the moment. Therefore, we are not going to extend it,” Lizer said.

The city will continue to operate under a local emergency ordinance that allows it to assign staff to support migrant service organizations. These organizations still receive an average of 185 migrant parolees per day from federal immigration agencies.

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