El Paso’s city attorney on preparation for Title 42’s end


(NewsNation) — El Paso is one of many Texas border states preparing for an increase in migrant crossings as Title 42 is set to end Wednesday.

Karla Nieman, the city attorney of El Paso, told NewsNation they’re working with state and federal officials to gear up for the influx, and they’re continuing to ask for assistance at all levels.

“We have several contingency plans in place,” she said.

El Paso Mayor Oscar Lesser declared a state of emergency on Saturday. Nieman said the state of emergency allows the city to ask state and federal officials for additional resources.

“The National Guard, likely the Red Cross, and various other nonprofit organizations have come together to prep various different shelters in order for us to be able to have housing, first aid, food and transportation for these folks,” Nieman said.

While El Paso is a welcoming community, Nieman said the biggest misconception in the rest of the country is that there’s no separation between the city and Mexico.

“Because we’ve been on the border we have seen migration for over 300 years. It’s not uncommon,” she said. “Unlike California or Arizona, our border is adjacent; there is zero separation. So the axis for migrants legal and illegal is it’s very easy to come across the border right now.”

Nieman said their greatest need right now is housing and transportation.

El Paso is regionally isolated from the rest of the state, so the amount of transportation out of the city is limited, especially during the holiday season.

“Our airport is also housing up to 600 people a night, who already have tickets and are waiting to depart, but with holiday travel, tickets are limited and travel is already saturated,” she said.

Another concern is that it is supposed to be extremely cold in Texas this week with below-zero windchills in some parts of the state by Friday, forecasters said.

“It becomes very dangerous, especially the children and the elderly,” Nieman said. “We do have roving teams that are constantly monitoring the streets after we receive notice from CBP that they will be released either to the airport or the local bus companies. And we move them as quickly as we can either to local shelters or hotels at this point.”

Overall, Nieman said they need additional support.

“I think people need to understand that this is not a long-term solution,” she said. “We need more help on the ground and we need additional resources, more transportation and additional shelter.”

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