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Not everyone agrees with city’s plea for public not to donate directly to migrants

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- The Diocese of El Paso wants you to help migrants by donating goods. Meanwhile the City of El Paso is reiterating their plea to the public to not donate to asylum seekers living on the streets.

"This is the time, El Paso, for us to live up to our reputation of welcome and hospitality," said Bishop Mark Seitz in a public service announcement released earlier this week.

Bishop Seitz went on to say how the diocese is opening four, soon to be five parish-based shelters, and that all of the diocese's parishes and priests are working to support the effort by volunteering for the shelters.

Meanwhile, last week the City of El Paso asked the public not to bring donations directly to migrants living on the streets due to concerns for public safety and health.

ABC-7 asked a spokesperson for the diocese whether that's something they condone or not, and they responded that they were going to let the public service announcement speak for itself.

"One of the requests we've made to the community is to please donate directly to the NGOs," said city spokesperson Laura Cruz-Acosta. "The NGOs understand what they need best, and how best to effectively serve our community."

But coordination is not the only reason the city is asking the community to operate through local organizations.

"It's also a precaution, a public safety concern for us. If somebody were to just drop off palettes of water or to just take boxes of pizza out to the middle of the street, there is a concern in terms of public safety, there's a lot of pedestrians out there. And we don't want to put anybody at risk," said Cruz-Acosta.

Another concern is public health. As ABC-7 has been reporting, there have been several reported cases of COVID-19 and chickenpox, and Cruz-Acosta said the city does not want those to spread further into the community.

But one El Pasoan ABC-7 spoke with in downtown El Paso disagreed with the cities views.

"I do believe that there are some organizations that are helpful and will give your donations to the migrants. But if you don't know any, if you're not comfortable with that, I don't see a problem with coming down and giving them resources. I mean, they're people too, right?" said Amey Gonzalez. "And this whole media of 'no, don't go to downtown,' or 'no, you might catch a disease,' all this ugly narrative. I mean, we're here tonight, it's a nice night, and we're enjoying our evening. There's no danger, they're just people."

If you want to donate through local NGOs, you can do so by visiting the city's website and clicking on "migrant crisis" then "donate."

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Kerry Mannix


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