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El Paso’s Opportunity Center for the Homeless may help address the upcoming migrant surge

EL PASO, Texas – Just days before Title 42 is lifted, county and city leaders are preparing for the large influx of migrants.

During a county commissioner’s meeting, County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said he has communicated with Border Patrol officials and other leaders of organizations.

Judge Samaniego said they anticipated this issue but didn’t expect it to happen at its current rate.

“What we didn’t anticipate is that it would be so quick. The groups are trying to get ahead of title 42, so we were working. We know that a couple of days ago, we saw some of the numbers going up increasingly fast,” he said.

On Sunday, over 100 migrants were released into downtown El Paso.

The release happened because shelters that help house and process the migrants are at full capacity.

The release of the migrants in El Paso streets is the first time it has happened since 2019. Shelters at the Annunciation House are at full capacity and are low in personnel.

County leaders said they need a processing center, where migrants will only be housed for a few days.

During the meeting, the Opportunity Center for the Homeless director, John Martin, said their center is also close to capacity, but their center can take some overflow.

Martin was invited to speak since he helped manage the homeless population during the pandemic. Martin briefed county leaders on what he may be able to do.

Martin said they may be able to provide extra capacity.

He said one thing they have done in the past, which could be a possibility this year, is setting up a 3,000-square-foot tent in the facility's parking lot. The tent would have air conditioning and would hold up to 70 people a day.

Martin said they have been able to help the Annunciation House before and are willing to do so again.

He said the tent would help process the individuals much faster.

Many of the asylum seekers who arrive in the United States already have a set destination and have plane or bus tickets already lined up.

However, Martin explained the costs to set up the tent would be over $100,000 a month.

He said that the center relies on volunteers, but because of COVID-19, their support system has dwindled.

Judge Samaniego said he is looking at the possibility of asking county staff to help.

“We don’t have the personnel, so the first step that we are taking- the city and the county, is to utilize county employees to staff and then that would really help,” Samaniego said.

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Rosemary Montañez

ABC-7 Reporter

Comments

12 Comments

  1. We need a full time year round center to temporarily feed and house immigrants. It should be able to take in large numbers of migrants and their families. I’d be glad to contribute to that cause.

    1. As usual the nitwit Char Lie Dumbo didn’t read the article. El Paso has several facilities run by NGOs non-profits. However they are near capacity. What an idiot.

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