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City accused of taking sides after email sent out requesting employees to help migrants

Taking sides. That’s what some city employees are accusing the city of doing after an e-mail was sent out this morning. The e-mail asked employees to help migrants.

ABC 7 learned about this internal email after an anonymous call came into the newsroom this afternoon, claiming that some city employees are upset after the city asked them to volunteer at the Annunciation House and help with the influx of migrants – which they consider to be a highly politicized issue.

Laura Cruz-Acosta, a spokeswoman for the city said that the city is not taking sides, “We certainly understand, this might seem political but it really wasn’t the intention.” She said.

Cruz-Acosta confirmed to ABC 7 that the email was sent out to all city employees, but it was only to give employees, who are a part of the community, the opportunity to volunteer if they wanted, saying “It was sent out and we were asking, we were making employees aware that the Annunciation House is asking for the community to participate and volunteer.”

The request for help comes after hospitality shelters said they are running out of space because of the overwhelming amounts of immigrants pouring into the borderland. Ruben Garcia, the Director of the Annunciation House, told ABC 7 yesterday that he is expecting thousands more migrants in the coming days, Garcia said “I have a text right now from ICE that I just received that is talking about this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday that the numbers on each one of those days is going to be in the 600 plus on each one of those days.”

Cruz-Acosta said the email was sent out by city staff to city staff and was approved by the Human Resources department or a Supervisor.

She also said that it is not uncommon to give employees the opportunity to volunteer for events happening in the community. She told ABC 7 that the city encourages its employees to take part in different things that they might be interested in such as joining teams for community races, or even other volunteer opportunities.

Cruz-Acosta maintained that the city is neutral and not taking a side on the immigration issue, saying “We the city are not necessarily taking a side, so it’s simply an opportunity for those individuals who wish to participate that they can participate, its not a requirement for city employees to participate, and its not something unusual.”

As to the question of why the city was requesting volunteers on taxpayer time, Cruz- Acosta gave ABC-7 this statement

“No City funding was used to send the email and the time spent in sending the email was nominal.”

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