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‘Sanctuary City’ billboards seen in El Paso; some say they give migrants false hope

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA)-- Some El Paso residents have noticed two 'Sanctuary City' billboards erected near Downtown El Paso.

The billboards simply read 'Sanctuary City' with a picture of New York City or San Francisco in the background. One can be seen near I-10 and the Cotton exit going eastbound, the other can be seen going westbound.

On the bottom right of the billboards it reads, "San Francisco Welcomes Immigrants" or "New York City Welcomes Immigrants." Both also claim to be paid for by

ABC-7 reached out the organization to learn more about their motive. We still have not heard back.

In their website, the organization provides an overview about what a sanctuary city can be defined as.

"A Sanctuary City is a safe haven for immigrants like you, regardless of your immigration status," according to the website.

The website also suggest sanctuary cities offer different types of services including ample social services, health care, diverse and tolerant people.

John Martin, the deputy director of the Opportunity Center for the Homeless, said this type of messaging can be misleading for the migrant population.

"We don’t know who is behind it, but I will tell you that it's very misleading because it's implying that a large number of resources are available to the migrants if they make it there, that could include shelter, basic necessities, food, clothing, legal assistance, housing. In reality, we know based upon what we've seen in the media, that that's not true," Martin said.

The deputy director explained the three most popular destinations for migrants are Chicago, New York or Denver.

He said a sense of community has already been established in these areas, which is why more migrants want to reach these destinations.

"There is a significant lack of resources, predominantly because they're being overwhelmed by the numbers like we are," he said.

Martin also said he has seen flyers with similar messaging in the past.

"Those fliers were simply like other posters. They were literally taped to telephone poles or to walls, but they were done in spaces that are known to work with migrants," Martin said.

He said he is interested in knowing the motive.

"Is the motive a positive one or is it a negative one? And that's the question that needs to be answered."

Article Topic Follows: On the Border

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Rosemary Montañez

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