Texas mayor declares state of emergency over migrant swell

Published: Dec. 18, 2022 at 5:40 AM MST|Updated: Dec. 19, 2022 at 1:42 PM MST
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EL PASO, Texas (AP) — The mayor of a Texas border city declared a state of emergency 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 U.S. border with Mexico to tap into additional resources that are expected to become necessary after Title 42 expulsions end on Dec. 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 Saturday evening.

A ruling Friday by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals means restrictions that have prevented hundreds of thousands of migrants from seeking asylum in the U.S. in recent years are still set to be lifted 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 6,000 per day, the Times reported.

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