The mayor of a Texas border town is lashing out at President Biden after being forced to set up emergency shelters to cater to the 1,500 migrants released into his city this week that have tested positive for COVID-19.
McAllen’s Republican Mayor Javier Villalobos says he has been forced to declare a disaster in his city due to the surging virus cases.
Of the 7,000 migrants released by federal authorities into McAllen in the last week, 1,500 now have COVID, Villalobos said in a Facebook video on Wednesday.
“Lately we’ve been getting about 1,800 immigrants a day,” he said.
“Then, coupled with the fact that 15 percent of the immigrants have COVID, have caused substantial problems to our great city of McAllen.”
Villalobos said the city set up emergency temporary shelters this week for the overflow of migrants testing positive in a bid prevent outbreaks in the community.
But the city was forced to relocate the shelters after just 24 hours due to backlash from furious residents.
Villalobos said the blame lies directly with Biden and Washington — and not him.
“If you want to place blame, let’s do it,” he told his residents in the video.
“Call your president, call your congressman, and call your senators – if you want to place blame, blame them. Place it on the people who are responsible, and that is Washington.”
Villalobos said his disaster declaration was an attempt to get help from state and federal governments.
He argued that the city of McAllen shouldn’t even be involved because immigration is not a municipal issue.
Despite this, Villalobos said he had to be responsible or risk COVID outbreaks in his community.
“We don’t want these individuals — these immigrants — to just be dropped off at the bus station and just wander off — 1,800 people a day,” he said.
“If we don’t assist, if we don’t do something, they’re gonna be throughout the city. Fifteen percent of them have COVID — we have to be responsible.”
When migrants are brought to McAllen by border agents, they are tested for COVID while they are being processed. They are then relocated to a facility called the Humanitarian Respite Center, which is run by the local chapter of Catholic Charities.
They stay at that facility for an average of 24 hours while they make arrangements to travel elsewhere in the US.
Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has blamed the illegal immigration surge for an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the state.
On Tuesday, a federal judge temporarily blocked an executive order issued by Abbott last week allowing Texas state troopers to stop vehicles suspected of carrying illegal immigrants on the grounds they might be spreading COVID-19.
A full hearing is scheduled for August 13.