El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser declares state of emergency ahead of Title 42 repeal

El Paso’s mayor on Saturday declared a state of emergency ahead of Wednesday’s deadline to lift a COVID-era policy that is expected to cause more than 6,000 migrants a day to cross the border into an already overwhelmed city, in who are already sleeping hundreds on the streets .

“Our asylum seekers are not safe,” El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser said at a specially called press conference announcing the emergency measures. “We have hundreds and hundreds on the streets and that’s not how we treat our people.”

Temperatures have dropped to 20 degrees in the city, he said, and migrants who have been released into the city are sleeping on the downtown streets.

“I want to make sure people are treated with dignity,” Leeser said, adding that he made the decision to declare a state of emergency after a conference call with federal, state and local officials. The city government works with local non-profit organizations that help newly arrived migrants travel to other parts of the country where many have families.

Migrants gather near a Greyhound bus stop in El Paso, Texas on December 16, 2022.

Temperatures in the city have dipped into the 20’s.


Migrants receive donated meals near a Greyhound bus stop in El Paso, Texas, on December 17, 2022.

Title 42 allowed border officials to return nearly all migrants apprehended to Mexico.


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Migrants gather near Sacred Heart Church in El Paso, Texas on December 17, 2022.

Migrants released in El Paso sleep on the street.


Migrants gather near a Greyhound bus stop in El Paso, Texas on December 16, 2022.

More than 1,500 migrants cross the border into the Texas city every day.


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“We’ve all talked about what’s best for our community,” he said, adding that more than 1,500 migrants crossed the border into the city daily before the lifting of Title 42 on December 21, a policy out of the Trump-era migrants saw being sent back to Mexico.

The sober press conference was in sharp contrast to the one called on Thursday. Leeser walked away with the microphone to avoid answering questions after being challenged for not having declared a state of emergency to deal with the influx of migrants. At the time, he said the federal government had pledged $6 million to the ailing city to help it deal with the crisis.

El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser provides an update on the migrant crisis during a news conference December 17, 2022 in El Paso, Texas.
El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser did not rule out housing some of the migrants at a military base.
James Keivom

“We were able to get the funding without having to do this [declare an emergency]’ Leeser claimed on Thursday.

On Saturday, Leeser didn’t rule out using a nearby military base to house some of the migrants and that the city was working with state and federal agencies to address the situation.

“That’s bigger than El Paso,” Leeser said. “The situation changes every day. We have to adapt to different things every day.”

https://nypost.com/2022/12/17/el-paso-mayor-oscar-leeser-declares-state-of-emergency-ahead-of-title-42-lifting/ El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser declares state of emergency ahead of Title 42 repeal

JACLYN DIAZ

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