El Paso mayor Oscar Leeser refuses to declare emergency

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El Paso mayor Oscar Leeser refuses to declare emergency

El Paso’s mayor rejected renewed calls Monday to declare a local state of emergency despite thousands of migrants continuing to flood in and overwhelm the city.

More than 1,500 people were seen crossing the Rio Grande river from Juarez, Mexico, on Sunday according to El Paso Matters, then handing themselves over to border officers in the US to seek asylum.

Acting Chief Patrol Agent Peter Jaquez also confirmed the crossing has “experienced a major surge in illegal crossings, with a 3-day average of 2,460 daily encounters,” in a Tweet Monday.

But Mayor Oscar Leeser would not take action despite further urging by city officials, who want the declaration in order to open the Democrat-controlled city up to additional funds and resources from the state and federal governments.

Deputy City Manager Mario D’Agostino said at the city council’s meeting Monday: “With today’s numbers I have to recommend a declaration.

“2,500 apprehensions on the daily when they’re doing 498 community releases. Those numbers are high.”

An influx of migrants crossed over the border leaving the Texas city strained for resources.
An influx of migrants crossed over the border leaving the Texas city strained for resources.
El Paso border crossing
In October alone, 53,000 migrants crossed the border in El Paso.

“I’m not ready to declare anything today,” Leeser replied, adding he was working with city officials to “ensure our community comes first and we take care of our community.”

Only the mayor can declare an emergency, and needs the backing of the entire council to certify it.

El Paso has been inundated with thousands of migrants throughout the year, and after spending almost $10 million of the city’s own money – with only $2.2 million so far reimbursed by the federal government – it has had to shut down its busing operation and welcome center.

El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser.
El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser.
City of El Paso

The city is poised for even more migrants to flood in after the Title 42 pandemic restriction is lifted on Dec. 21.

El Paso Councilwoman Isabel Salcido said during the Monday meeting her “biggest suggestion” is to declare an emergency before that deadline in order to prepare.

“We all know this is unsustainable,” she said of the city’s current situation.

D’Agostino also said the city could begin bussing migrants to other parts of the country again, if it gets help. New York City absorbed almost 10,000 migrants from the El Paso busing program, while around 3,000 were sent to Chicago.

Leeser has ignored calls for months to declare a state of emergency, insisting he has been told by the Biden administration they will help the city out if it is patient. However, it has since become the number one border crossing in the country, seeing 53,000 people attempt to cross in October, and that number is only set to grow.

Separately, the County of El Paso said in a Monday press release officials are looking for a larger location to house the migrants crossing over the border and being processed for asylum.

City Councilwoman Claudia Rodriguez previously mentioned military base Fort Bliss could be used to house migrants when speaking with The Post earlier this month. 

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