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Dozens of migrants forced to face cold nights while living outside of Sacred Heart Church

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- As El Pasoans deal with some of the coolest temperatures of the season this weekend, dozens of migrants living on the streets are having to deal with the same frigid conditions overnight.

According to the City of El Paso's Migrant Situational Awareness Dashboard, the amount of migrant crossings into El Paso has been rising for the last few weeks.

ABC-7 visited the area outside of Sacred Heart Church Sunday. Our crew witnessed at least a hundred migrants outside the church, and many of them told us they have had to sleep outside some nights.

"Me and a few other friends had to sleep here, and it was unbearable. Even if you use blankets and sleep on cardboard, the cold is unbearable. To be on the streets at night, the temperatures are too low. Last night I felt I was going to get hypothermia," said Carlos Garizabal Cicani, a migrant from Venezuela.

Others said they feel lucky to have access to the shelter at night, but still deal with the cold during the day.

Jolimar Garser, from Venezuela, is travelling with her young children. They have been in El Paso for nearly two weeks. She told ABC-7, it can be very difficult for them.

She said of her children, "He said he is very cold. Sometimes people come here giving them jackets and shirts, and I put them on them."

Venezuelan Karina Diaz is also travelling with young children. However, unlike Garser, Diaz and her children and grandchildren are now sleeping on the streets.

Diaz said they have been staying at Sacred Heart Church for about a month. She said she is grateful that the shelter has let them stay so long because of her situation, but it is still very difficult.

"I have not left yet because I am waiting on some documents that I need to move the case along with my grandson, because his court is here, and I have it somewhere else. He is only four years old, and he can not be in court by himself," she said.

Diaz told ABC-7 the shelter denied her and her family entry Saturday night.

"Yesterday I wanted to go in because it was cold… and I wanted the children to sleep there, but I could not go in," she said.

Regardless, many migrants expressed their gratitude to the community for their donations of food and warm clothes.

"With the blankets that they bring, the scarfs, hats and gloves it is easier to maintain, and the sun also helps keep you warm," said Diaz. "But there are a lot of people who get here and keep arriving, and they do not have anything."

ABC-7 reached out to Sacred Heart Church to ask how many migrants they are able to hold at this time, and they told us they are not able to provide that information. When we asked if they would like to comment on the cold temperatures many migrants are facing, they said no.

Article Topic Follows: On the Border

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Kerry Mannix


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