El Paso mayor declares state of emergency due to migrant crisis

El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser declared a state of emergency in response to the worsening migrant crisis, which has left scores sleeping on the streets in the past few days.

While Leeser has long opposed issuing a state of emergency declaration, he said Saturday’s move would allow the city to tap into much-needed additional resources that will no longer be necessary only when Title 42 deportation ends on December 21st.

Leeser said the sight of people on the streets of downtown with temperatures dropping below freezing was the catalyst for a decision in the works Friday night.

Migrants brave freezing temperatures, struggle to travel out of El Paso

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

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He said the rise would be “unbelievable” after Wednesday, when daily concerns and street issues could rise to as high as 6,000 a day.

El Paso Deputy City Manager Mario D’Agostino said the state emergency declaration would give the city more flexibility to operate larger shelter operations and provide additional transportation for arriving asylum seekers.

Migrants pitch tents with donated blankets to stay warm on the streets of El Paso, Texas, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, after being released after crossing into the United States.

The city has requested additional personnel for nutrition and housing operations, additional bus operations and state law enforcement.

“It’s for their own good… the members of the community and everyone involved,” D’Agostino said.

As the numbers continue to rise, D’Agostino said, additional state resources will be critical to ensure enough space to shelter those who can’t get out of town right away.

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El Paso seeks state, federal aid ahead of expected migrant surge as Title 42 expires


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