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City provides update on migrant situation as more than 1,000 cross border Sunday evening

EL PASO, Texas -- Mayor Oscar Leeser said he will not declare an emergency right now as more than 1,000 migrants crossed the border into El Paso Sunday evening, but he did say that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will be in "late today" and there are meetings planned for Tuesday.

Deputy City Manager Mario D'Agostino said the migrant crisis is unsustainable as Title 42, the public health order that allows border officials to expel asylum seekers at the border, is set to be lifted on Dec. 21.

"We have to be cognizant with the fact that it's, it's already here. Look at the vast numbers increased in the past couple of weeks, especially the last three to four days. Those numbers are unsustainable and that's with Title 42 in place. So, we can only imagine what that Title 42 lift is going to do on top of everything else," D'Agostino said to city council on Monday morning.

City data shows the number of daily migrant releases have increased in the month of December. Emergency management coordinator, Jorge Rodriguez, said in the past week there have been 6,900 releases, the highest number of releases the city has seen.

D'Agostino recommended that the mayor declare an emergency. The mayor said he has "some questions" for Secretary Mayorkas during their meeting on Tuesday they will work with him on and hope to get clarification.

The city has also proposed advanced funding of $4.7 million to help serve 600 migrants per day and help with transportation. The city is still waiting on $7.28 million on reimbursements from FEMA for the third and fourth quarters.

Right now, the migrant releases are being handled by the county processing center and local non-governmental organizations.

County commissioners court approved a $1 million grant for the Rescue Mission of El Paso to help shelter asylum seekers. The money would allow the Rescue Mission to serve about 150 migrants per day.

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Dylan McKim


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