El Paso will continue to bus unlawful migrants to Dallas and other large transportation hubs, as the border city is still seeing a steady stream of unlawful migrants arriving each day.
El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser said the record number of people coming into his city through the southern border is unsustainable.
“We have a crisis on our hands,” Leeser said. “Funding and shelter is not the answer; it’s a band-aid to really a bigger problem.”
El Paso’s deputy city manager, Mario D’Agostino, said some 2,500 unlawful migrants have arrived in the city daily over the past week alone.
D’Agostino said most do not plan to stay in El Paso or Texas, so the plan is to bus them from El Paso to major cities like Dallas, which have large airports with more flight options.
El Paso’s plan is “getting them to that next point so we can process them here, get them their travel arrangements out of a greater hub,” he explained.
While the buses will arrive in Dallas, the City has said its response will be limited. Instead, nonprofits and other volunteer organizations are taking the lead in assisting unlawful migrants.
“The City of Dallas isn’t leading any efforts,” said Christina Da Silva with Dallas’ Welcoming Communities and Immigrant Affairs Office. “We’re really grateful for the nonprofits and faith communities that have been working to help migrants arrive at their final destinations.”
The groups assisting the unlawful migrants with temporary housing and transportation to the airport include Faith Forward Dallas and Dallas Responds, a ministry service of Oak Lawn United Methodist Church.
Oak Lawn United welcomed about 30 unlawful migrants Tuesday morning, most being men from countries including China, Turkey, and Nicaragua.
Pastor Isabel Marquez said the mission is personal.
“I know what it feels to be in a detention center,” Marquez said. “I was [there for] five months. So, we serve as part of our ministry, knowing that these people deserve new opportunities.”
Volunteers at the church are providing food and clothes for the unlawful migrants and helping coordinate their travel plans.
“My primary job is intake,” Muniz said. “This requires obtaining information from the guest who passes [by here]. After the initial intake and registration, I am able to help them print boarding passes to their sponsor cities or help them facilitate a flight.”
Marquez said they expected another group of 30 unlawful migrants Wednesday morning. However, she said they are prepared to welcome at least 150 daily when and if Title 42 is lifted.
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson has expressed, “Dallas is a welcoming city, and we are willing to do our part in a humanitarian crisis when it makes sense for us to be involved,” while adding that immigration is a federal matter.
Local, state, and federal officials have communicated concern that governments and communities may struggle to deal with the influx of unlawful migrants already mounting on the border, which is only expected to grow in the coming weeks, as The Dallas Express has previously reported.
Gov. Greg Abbott, for instance, has expressed concerns that “small, overrun border towns” and other Texas communities do not have the capacity to absorb continued waves of unlawful migration.
Abbott has characterized the situation at the border both as a “humanitarian crisis” and as a potential risk to the safety of Texas citizens.
“The Lone Star State will not sit idly by as the federal government chooses to ignore the historic number of illegal crossings, human smuggling, and drug trafficking of deadly fentanyl from Mexico into the United States,” the governor said in a recent statement. “Our government has no greater responsibility than to provide public safety to its citizens.”