The Democratic-run border city of El Paso, Texas, will declare a state of emergency Monday in anticipation of the end of a major Trump-era migrant expulsion order, known as Title 42, the city’s mayor announced at a press conference Sunday.
Democratic El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser said the city needs to ensure it has the resources for shelters, housing and staffing to help address a surge of migrants that are expected to come. Title 42, which was implemented during the pandemic as a public health order enabling the expulsion of certain illegal immigrants, is set to end May 11; the policy’s end is expected to result in a significant increase in illegal immigration at the southern border.
“We’re getting prepared now for what we call the unknown,” Leeser said. “And the unknown is what will happen after May 11.”
The emergency declaration will last seven days and will be brought to the El Paso City Council for a 30-day extension. The city has already received $22.5 million to address the migrant crisis, $15 million of which hasn’t yet been spent, Leeser said, adding that there will be requests for additional funds.
“We’re starting to pick up some momentum as asylum seekers are around the streets of downtown El Paso and other areas of our community and we need to make sure that we continue to protect not only the asylum seekers, but also our community,” Leeser said.
Across from El Paso is Juarez, Mexico, where mass encampments of migrants awaiting the end of May 11 have formed, Leeser said, citing a recent visit to Juarez. The city expects that there are 10,000 to 12,000 people waiting south of the border to cross after May 11.
The looming surge also prompted the city of Laredo, Texas, to make a disaster declaration on Sunday, local outlet KGNS reported.
The Biden administration has also made preparations for the policy’s looming sunset. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of State Antony Blinken jointly announced Thursday a plan to address an expected migration surge by creating new consequences for illegal crossings, expanding legal pathways to entry and creating migrant processing centers in Latin America.
“We have been preparing for the transition for more than a year and a half. Notwithstanding those preparations, we do expect that encounters at our southern border will increase as smugglers are seeking to take advantage of this change and already are hard at work spreading disinformation that the border will be open after that,” Mayorkas said upon making the announcement.
Leeser echoed Mayorkas’ statement, saying that migrants have already arrived to El Paso believing that “false” narrative.
As of Sunday, there are more than 4,000 migrants in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), according to the city of El Paso’s migrant crisis dashboard.
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