El Paso declared a state of emergency on Saturday as it tries to deal with an influx of migrants.
“We’ve been debating the best way to assure everyone’s safety all day,” Mayor Oscar Leeser said. “I indicated from the beginning that I would call it when either the asylum seekers or our community were in danger, and I really believe that currently our asylum seekers are in danger. And I truly think that now our asylum seekers are in danger since we have hundreds and hundreds on the street.”
Some of the migrants have been camping on the streets because they cannot afford to take a bus or fly.
During the summer, the city stepped in and supplied supplies and transportation, but this time El Paso claims the federal government is in charge.
While the city is opting to distance itself from the situation, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott claims that others are doing too much to assist migrants.
Abbott stated that he will begin an investigation into non-governmental groups that assist migrants following accusations that the NGOs were assisting in the transportation of people through the southern border.
A migrant surge has sent shockwaves across the neighbourhood, which is still hurting after a major migrant flood that ended in October.
Over the course of four months, the city spent more than $9 million busing refugees, providing housing, and building welcoming centres.
The city is now requesting that the federal government take up the work.
“We’d have a lot more resources, and the residents of El Paso would probably feel not just safer, but we wouldn’t be subsidising an operation,” City Councilwoman Claudia Rodriguez said. “Funding that is not our duty.”
The city has declared a local catastrophe, but others feel it is insufficient.
“We need solid policies, which we have, but we also need to implement them,” said El Paso City Manager Tommy Gonzales. “I realise it’s difficult since the numbers are so huge. As a result, we are being tested locally. The state is under attack, as is the federal government.”
The Border Network for Human Rights has been supporting migrants in El Paso for more than two decades, and the organisation says it will not be frightened by the governor’s proposal to investigate.
“We’re not going to quit what we’re doing,” Fernando Garcia of the NGO stated. “No politician is going to scare us or convince us that performing human rights work at the border is bad.”