El Paso opens shelter as migrant influx reaches ‘breaking point’

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – City officials met Saturday, Sept. 23, in a last-minute press conference to address the rapid increase of migrants at the border.

Mayor Oscar Leeser said El Paso has reached “a breaking point” as over 2,000 migrants enter the border daily and there are currently about 2,000 waiting at the border gate 32 on the Mexican side.

Leeser said Customs and Border Protection is currently holding over 6,500 migrants in its facilities.

Most migrants are coming from Venezuela.

The exponential rise in the number of migrants is prompting the city to open up a shelter at the Nations-Tobin Sports Center in Northeast El Paso.

Deputy City Manager Mario D’Agostino said they had to “operationalize” the temporary shelter that is currently able to accommodate about 400 people.

Officials confirmed the city is also working with Texas Division of Emergency Management that is providing charter buses to take migrants to hub locations.

Emergency Management Coordinator Chief Jorge Rodriguez explained all migrants being bused out of El Paso are doing it voluntarily and have to sign documentation before they board.

Monday, two buses have left for New York City, two to Chicago and one to Denver.

Leeser reiterated that only 1 percent of migrants decide to stay in El Paso while the majority moves on to larger cities.

All expenses to accommodate migrants are being funded by the federal government and not local taxpayers, Leeser said.

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