The mayor of El Paso, Texas, Saturday declared a state of emergency as the U.S. border city faces a daily influx of thousands of migrants from Latin American countries over the border with Mexico.
Mayor Oscar Leeser, a Democrat, said the declaration would give the city the money and other needed resources to deal with the migrant crisis.
“We wanted to make sure people are treated with dignity. We want to make sure everyone is safe,” Leeser said.
U.S. officials say more than 2,400 migrants cross into El Paso every day, far beyond its shelter capacity, and thousands of migrants are sleeping on El Paso’s streets, just as the temperatures are dropping.
The emergency declaration came just days before a federal health order, referred to as Title 42, expires Wednesday. Title 42, enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowed for the quick return of migrants across the border.
If Title 42 is no longer in effect next week, Leeser said U.S. officials have told him the daily number of migrants crossing daily into the U.S. through El Paso could jump from 2,400 to as high as 6,000.
Democratic state Senator César J. Blanco, who represents El Paso, said in a statement that the border community “is facing an extraordinary humanitarian crisis.”