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County voting on new processing center to help with migrant surge

County commissioners voting on new processing center
Dylan McKim
County commissioners voting on new processing center

EL PASO, Texas -- El Paso county commissioners are voting on a brand new migrant processing center to help with the surge of migrants the area has seen in recent weeks.

The new processing center would be centrally located near the airport and would be able to process around 600 to 700 migrants a day, according to county judge Ricardo Samaniego.

The city recently opened its own migrant center and has been bussing migrants to other cities in the United States, including New York City.

A new phenomenon of migrants from Venezuela has created some issues for local authorities. A majority of Venezuelans do not have sponsors or money when they arrive in the country. This creates a slowdown in the system as officials try to find the best place for the migrants to go and transportation for them to get there.

Dozens of migrants had been released to the streets in downtown El Paso and had created a makeshift camp as they waited to get a bus ticket to their final destination. City and county officials both say there were no releases over the weekend. City crews were even seen cleaning the street where the makeshift camp was and installing outhouses.

"Our goal has always been to never have anyone in the streets," Samaniego said.

Judge Samaniego says the city's center will focus more on the migrants who do not have a sponsor, and the county's center will focus on those migrants who already have a sponsor and an idea of where they are going. Samaniego says between 30 and 40 percent of the migrants know where they need to go and can be processed quickly.

The cost of renting the building for the center would cost $11,318 a month for the first year and $11,678 a month for the second year.

A third-party company, The Providencia Group, would staff and operate the center at $573,700 a month for the first year, with an option to renew the deal for a second year. The Providencia Group, based out of Virginia, says they are a "leading provider of human services aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable populations" on their website.

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Dylan McKim

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