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FEMA to reimburse El Paso county $2 million for new migrant processing center

EL PASO, Texas -- As the county continues working on setting up a processing center to handle the surge of migrants, County Judge Ricardo Samaniego says FEMA has already approved a $2 million dollar reimbursement for the county.

The county processing center was approved earlier this week. Samaniego says it should help get migrants to their final destination quicker. This will prevent large numbers of them from ending up in the streets of downtown El Paso.

The processing center is expected to be ready by the first week of October. It will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will not serve as a shelter.

It will be reserved for migrants with sponsors waiting for them in other parts of the country - since they go through a quicker process.

The County is fronting the funds for the center now since FEMA would not give the funds in advance. But FEMA has agreed to reimburse the county before the facility opens.

"Every penny that we use for migrants is going to be refunded. It will be reimbursed. The problem is it was taking them too long, so it didn't allow us to move. We weren't agile in trying to deal with the situation and now that we got taken care of, things are a lot better," said Samaniego.

The lease for the new processing center has been completed and is set for one year. 

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Sarah Coria

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