UPDATE 10:30 a.m. -- Ruben Garcia, director of Annunciation House shelter, says he expects more releases of immigrants to El Paso's streets this week.
In a news conference held Wednesday morning, Garcia calls for the increase of hospitality capacity for migrants in advance of the lifting of Title 42.
He called for a three-pronged approach, including the use of NGOs, city-county resources, and federal resources.
Garcia said the capacity of Annunciation House shelter's umbrella network fluctuates throughout the week. They currently have 15 hospitality sites, primarily consisting of churches.
Garcia said that it has become significantly more difficult to recruit volunteers to operate hospitality sites. One reason sites: Covid. But Garcia also said the vilification of migrants has contributed to that difficulty in recruiting.
“2018-2019 the number of hospitality sites was significantly greater than what we have now,” said Garcia.
In calling for the increase in capacity, Garcia said he wanted to make it "radically clear" that he was not talking about detention but rather hospitality.
He said just as important for increased capacity at the government level is to have the ability for government officials to do travel arrangements for migrants.
Garcia also stressed that nearly 100% of migrants processed move on to be with friends and family in other parts of the country.
He said the is an incorrect presumption that people who are released get to remain in the U.S. He said most end up being deported.
“No one, upon being processed, is given permission to remain in the United States. Everyone will have to face the immigration process,” said Garcia.
He also said there have been some areas of Title 42 that are not talked about. He said not all nationalities were being expelled. He said the majority of those expelled under Title 42 were from traditional nationalities. Not as common were nationalities from Cuba, Haiti, Venezuela, Turkey, and to a lesser extent Russia.
“A key number is the daily apprehensions that border patrol is doing presently. That’s the key number because the greater the number of individuals that are apprehended…you can estimate that 60-65% can be expelled….the rest fall into these nationalities that cannot be expelled…” said Garcia.
He says as those numbers have been increasing, it's been putting a strain on Border Patrol holding centers.
Garcia said the increase has reached a point they have to release beyond what Annunciation House can handle.
On Sunday, Garcia said they had a capacity of 347 beds. That meant 119 single adults were released to the streets.
He says we're going to see more of that going into the future.
Garcia said one of his concerns is that if action is not taken now with the lifting of Title 42, people will be pointing fingers as to what went wrong, and in that finger-pointing won't do anything to increase bed capacity.
Garcia has been working with El Paso's Office of Emergency Management to train workers who've been freed up from the pandemic to work at Casa de Refugiado.
He said 29 have been brought up for orientation. Those workers can help relieve Annunciation House volunteers who can expand out to focus on regional church sites to help with capacity.
If you're interested in becoming a volunteer, you can go to the Annunciation House website to read the requirements.
EL PASO, Texas – Annunciation House Shelter will hold a news conference ahead of the possible lifting of Title 42.
The news conference is also in response to federal officials' refugee release over the weekend.
On Sunday, border enforcement agents dropped off more than 100 migrants at a downtown bus station.
Most of the immigrants were from Turkey, Haiti, Brazil and Peru, according to a person helping them at the bus station.