Across the border from El Paso, Texas, some 20,000 migrants are waiting for Title 42 to end so they can cross into the US, the mayor said at a press conference Monday evening.
“We’ve been talking to some of the partners in Mexico, and we’re talking also to the Border Patrol and those are the numbers that have been fed back to us,” said Mayor Oscar Leeser. “The shelters in [Ciudad] Juarez are completely full today, and they believe there’s about 20,000 people ready to come into El Paso.”
An emergency filing with the Supreme Court by attorney generals in 19 states meant a temporary halt to the planned lifting of Title 42, the Trump-era policy which allows border officers to reject illegal border crossers from the US, on Wednesday.
The Border Patrol has used Title 42 to expel about 40% of all illegal border crossers since it was implemented by former President Donald Trump in 2020. Even though it may not end this week, local leaders say they are continuing to prepare for a human tidal wave — with as many as 5,000 migrants a day attempting to cross the border.
El Paso is currently the epicenter of the border crisis, with more immigrants crossing there than anywhere else in the country, according to the US Border Patrol statistics. Since August, city resources have been strained as the number of migrants arriving in the city continued to rise.
Leeser issued a disaster declaration over the border crisis on Saturday, requesting help from the state and federal government so the city can set up a shelter, bus migrants out of the overwhelmed border community and get extra law enforcement.
El Paso is looking to set up “mass sheltering,” with the American Red Cross arriving in El Paso with 10,000 cots for people to sleep in. Local leaders are looking at options including using the city’s convention center and school district facilities as shelters.
“No facility in the city will be taken off consideration,” said Mayor Leeser.
Charter buses from the state of Texas’ controversial bus program run by Gov. Greg Abbott arrived in El Paso Friday, said Deputy City Manager Mario D’Agostino.
“Those both two went to New York City, and they had one charter that left yesterday,” he added.
Unlike other state charter buses to the Big Apple, D’Agostino said El Paso is working with the mayor’s office in New York to coordinate the arrival of the latest charter buses.
Four hundred Texas National Guard members left Fort Worth Monday — landing in El Paso to help with security operations, the Texas Military Department said.
The guard members are trained in “mass migration response,” something that could be used to safeguard the border and repel and turn-back illegal immigrants.
El Paso has seen mobs of immigrants trying to cross the border by the hundreds in recent months and days where border patrol encountered some 2,400 migrants. The detention facility where migrants were held for processing was had more than 1,500 over its capacity and all the city’s shelter beds were taken up, leaving authorities no option but to release some 800 people onto the streets.