Texas mayor declares state of emergency over influx of migrants

Migrants go through in a new mobile processing centre, which was set up close to the Paso del Norte International Bridge on the US-Mexico border, in El Paso. CREDIT:PHOTO FOR THE WASHINGTON POST BY PAUL RATJE

El Paso, Texas: The mayor of a Texas border city declared a state of emergency on Saturday over concerns about the community’s ability to handle an anticipated influx of migrants across the southern border.

El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser issued the state of emergency declaration to allow the city on the US border with Mexico to tap into additional resources that are expected to become necessary after Title 42 expulsions end on Wednesday, December 21, the El Paso Times reported.

Leeser had previously resisted issuing an emergency declaration, but said he was moved to action by the sight of people on downtown streets with temperatures dipping below freezing, the Times reported.

“That’s not the way we want to treat people,” Leeser said during a news conference on Saturday evening.

A ruling on Friday by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals means restrictions that have prevented hundreds of thousands of migrants from seeking asylum in the US in recent years are still set to be lifted on Wednesday, unless further appeals are filed.

Leeser added that the increase would be “incredible” after Wednesday, when daily apprehensions and street releases could reach up to 6000 a day, the Times reported.

El Paso Deputy City Manager Mario D’Agostino said the state of emergency declaration would give the city greater flexibility in operating larger sheltering operations and providing additional transportation for asylum seekers.

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