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Migrant surge could have large economic impact on the El Paso Borderplex

EL PASO, Texas -- With the ongoing migrant surge in the El Paso community, some predict this could have a major economic impact on the Borderland region.

Workforce experts told ABC-7, the migrant surge could create a high demand for jobs.

Bianca Cervantes, Communications Director at Workforce Solutions Borderplex, told ABC-7 when Afghan refugees were being resettled in the Borderland there was a large spike in job openings.

Cervantes said the jobs ranged widely in skills. Some jobs include childcare services, emergency type jobs, translators, manual labor, etc.

She said during the Afghan resettlement process some job wages ranged from $18 to $30 an hour.

"When it comes to contractors typically a lot of those jobs are serviced with federal dollars and you typically see higher wages. The wages come in at that rate because of the necessity of urgency. We needed people to be working right away," she said.

As for how many jobs may be created, she said it is all dependent on the volume of migrants that continue to enter the El Paso Sector.

Cervantes said those who work with the migrants gain highly valuable skills they may not earn elsewhere.

"Not only is it good pay, but you are serving and you are making a difference. It is going to impact someone else’s life and that is a great thing," Cervantes said.

In the first week of October, the County of El Paso is set to open a migrant processing center near the airport.

The center could process nearly 700 migrants daily.

A third-party company, The Providencia Group, would staff and operate the center.

El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said with the opening of the processing center up to 30 jobs could be created in the first few weeks, but could increase after.

Judge Samaniego said the El Paso region is a hub for processing asylum seekers.

He said this migrant surge will have a positive impact on the community because it will bring in more jobs and other possibilities.

"There will be a lot of opportunities for internships. A lot of opportunities to create other industries. It could be like not having to get our supplies from the distance--becoming suppliers for everything they wear. It could be a business," he said.

Samaniego said these jobs will have more security since he wants the county's migrant processing center to be open long-term.

Judge Samaniego said all of the funds the County of El Paso is investing in the migrant processing center will be reimbursed by FEMA.

The City of El Paso is also operating its own migrant processing center, where 300 migrants are processed daily.

As a result of the opening of the center, 50 people were hired to assist.

City officials told ABC-7 last week more people could get hired to help with migrant processing.

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Rosemary Montañez

ABC-7 reporter and weekend anchor


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