(NewsNation) — Across the country, cities and towns are facing the challenge of housing a sudden influx of migrants. The strain is spreading, with smaller communities now facing the same challenges as large cities like New York and Chicago.
In southern California, officials say the town of El Cajon is especially stressed due to taking in migrants who come directly to the area or who are bused over from the city of San Diego.
Now, El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells is seeking more resources and funds from the White House. Like many communities, Wells’ is also grappling with a homelessness problem.
“People are very concerned about their safety, they’re concerned about the homeless problem increasing, which would be a terrible thing. And they’re really concerned about the uncertainty of that,” Wells said. “They don’t know who’s coming. We have no idea how many of these people have criminal records. Maybe it is all nice families who just want to resettle in America, but maybe it’s some bad people who are coming across.”
In Chicago, officials have turned a district police station into a temporary shelter, prompting the owner of an empty building nearby to open it up for housing up to 200 migrants.
The continued outflow from New York City to upstate communities is also spreading the strain in the northeast, including the town of Newburgh.
Officials in Rockland and Orange counties have declared states of emergency.
In Salina, New York, migrants are being housed at a local hotel and town officials have just filed a restraining order to prevent New York City from dropping off any more.
In Oregon, schools in the Portland area are scrambling to enroll more than 800 new students whose primary language is not English.
Surrounding districts are also reporting a jump in the need for multilingual education.
There are now increased calls for the Biden administration to do more, including taking action to allow asylum-seekers to obtain work permits to help them get back on their own two feet.