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Texas Mayor Calls State Of Emergency Over Migrant Swell

The Mayor of El Paso is seeking more resources to handle an expected surge of migrants after Title 42 expulsions end Wednesday.
Posted at 8:44 PM, Dec 18, 2022

Cities along the U.S.-Mexico border are setting in motion humanitarian efforts including emergency shelter, food and transportation services ahead of an expected dramatic increase in the number of asylum-seekers as pandemic-era immigration restrictions are set to expire this week. 

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.

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.

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Under President Donald Trump, about 70,000 asylum-seekers were forced to wait in Mexico for U.S. hearings under the policy introduced in January 2019.

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"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.

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.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.