El Paso could spend $10 million on migrants this month alone

Officials in El Paso, Texas, have asked their mayor to issue a disaster declaration as the city is inundated by 2,000 new migrants a day, diverting funds from essential services, including police and fire departments.

El Paso City Council members Cissy Lizarraga, Claudia Rodriguez and Isabel Salcido wrote a letter Wednesday urging Mayor Oscar Leeser to take action as immigrants, mostly from Venezuela, cross the border into Texas’ sixth-largest city of 700,000 residents flock.

“We are writing to urge you to issue a disaster declaration for the city of El Paso regarding the current mass influx of migrants,” the letter read, seen by KDBC-TV.

“With the unprecedented increase… we must take these actions now.”

The city of El Paso spends $300,000 a day to take in, feed and bus asylum-seeking immigrants to New York City with the blessing of Mayor Eric Adams and Chicago.

In September alone, the city could spend as much as $10 million, reports El Paso Matters.

Migrants, mostly from Venezuela, queue at the Migrant Welcome Center, administered by the City of El Paso and the Office of Emergency Management in El Paso, Texas, to board a bus bound for New York.
Migrants, mostly from Venezuela, wait for a bus bound for New York at the Migrant Welcome Center administered by the City of El Paso and the Office of Emergency Management in El Paso, Texas.
REUTERS

The city admitted resources are being diverted from its departments to care for the migrants — including first responders.

“Fire departments, police, public health — almost every department is affected right now,” El Paso’s chief financial officer Robert Cortinas told El Paso Matters.

The Council members’ letter continued: “Our most fundamental responsibility is to ensure public safety,

“These are monies coming from our general fund now. This is not only unsustainable, but simply unfair to our community.”

Migrants who recently arrived from Venezuela after crossing from Mexico wait to be assigned a hotel room provided by the El Paso Office of Emergency Management on September 21, 2022
Migrants who recently arrived from Venezuela after crossing from Mexico wait to be assigned a hotel room provided by the El Paso Office of Emergency Management on September 21, 2022.
Getty Images

“Without the financial and logistical resources that will be available through a declaration of emergency, our ability to keep the city of El Paso safe for residents and migrants alike is at serious risk.”

City Representative Claudia Rodriguez told the Post on Tuesday that she saw 50 El Paso firefighters working at the immigrant welcome center instead of answering calls for El Paso citizens.

She also noted that a disaster declaration would shift responsibility for the migrants to the state and federal governments and away from the city of El Paso.

City guides struggle to deal with the highest number of immigrants ever seen in the city, as the city is so overwhelmed that immigrants are camping on its streets.

“We are very responsive to this, even though we should have been proactive in knowing the surge was coming,” Councilwoman Rodriguez said.

Venezuelans seeking asylum in the US are behind the current immigration wave.
Venezuelans seeking asylum in the US are largely behind the current wave of immigration.
REUTERS

“We should have made this disaster declaration much sooner and should have had the resources [then] We would not be in this situation.”

The mayor of El Paso didn’t respond to the Post’s request for comment, but Rodriguez told the Post she didn’t receive a response from the mayor’s office.

“I spoke to him before writing [the mayor] several times asking him, urging him to declare a state of emergency and for some reason it is not being done,” Rodriguez said.

On Wednesday evening, the city said on social media that the federal government had already reimbursed part of the cost of the immigration push.

The city of El Paso houses immigrants in local motels to discourage them from camping on the streets of downtown El Paso.
The city of El Paso houses immigrants in local motels to discourage them from camping on downtown streets.
Getty Images

“We received some reimbursements from the federal government and also received $2 million for future expenses. Pending reimbursements, we expect to total over $2.5 million.” The city tweeted.

Rodriguez even said the money wouldn’t be enough to keep up with the rising number of immigrants seeking asylum.

“This money will only last us maybe 10 days the way things are going,” she said.

https://nypost.com/2022/09/22/el-paso-could-spend-10-million-this-month-alone-on-migrants/ El Paso could spend $10 million on migrants this month alone

JACLYN DIAZ

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