El Paso Struggles with Unlawful Migrant Inflow


Unlawful Migrants in El Paso | Image Jose Luis Gonzalez/REUTERS

El Paso continues to wrestle with an influx of unlawful migrants.

Roughly 1,600 have been released into the city daily, and officials are preparing for a larger surge as the Trump-era border policy is expected to be lifted by the end of the week.

“We have a crisis on our hands,” El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser said on Thursday.

“This funding and sheltering is not the answer. It’s a band-aid to a bigger problem, and it’s really important for us that we continue to work with our federal government to see how they can come up with a permanent solution,” he continued. “We’ve said that you’re not going to fund yourself out of this. You’re not going to house yourself out of this.”

Leeser claims that the problem expands throughout the country and has become an international concern.

“One of the things that we’ve said from the beginning [is] that this is bigger than just El Paso,” he said.

The mayor continued to suggest that to address this crisis adequately, the government will have to work with the United Nations “and other countries.”

Due to the unlawful migrant influx, the county reception facility and the region’s network of non-profit and faith-based shelters are exceeding capacity, according to Lesser. In response, the City is offering overnight hotel rooms to unlawful migrants and distributing outdoor toilets and water stations.

Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security has suggested that more unlawful migrants will likely be released into the country once Trump-era asylum restrictions end on December 21.

Title 42 is a part of U.S. law that gives the federal government the authority to take emergency action to keep infectious diseases out of the country. President Donald Trump invoked Title 42 at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 to prevent unlawful migrants from bringing COVID-19 into the U.S.

The Biden administration has reportedly used Title 42 to deport several hundred thousand unlawful migrants out of American territory. However, the policy is supposed to end soon after a federal court ruled in November that the COVID pandemic is no longer sufficient justification for maintaining the rule.

“It is unreasonable for the CDC to assume that it can ignore the consequences of any actions it chooses to take in the pursuit of fulfilling its goals, particularly when those actions included the extraordinary decision to suspend the codified procedural and substantive rights of noncitizens seeking safe harbor,” Judge Emmet Sullivan wrote in his opinion, adding that the expulsion of migrants under Title 42 is “arbitrary and capricious.”

Republican-led states, including Texas, are asking an appeals court to postpone the termination to prevent an “enormous disaster” along the southern border.

While the Biden administration has challenged portions of Sullivan’s ruling, it has not opposed the rule’s December 21 termination.

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