El Paso could spend $10 million this month alone on migrants

Officials in El Paso, Texas, have pleaded with their mayor to make a Disaster Declaration as the city is overwhelmed with 2,000 new migrants daily, diverting funding from vital services including its police and fire departments.

El Paso City Council members Cissy Lizarraga, Claudia Rodriguez and Isabel Salcido penned a letter Wednesday, demanding Mayor Oscar Leeser take action as immigrants, largely from Venezuela, flood over the border to Texas’ sixth largest city, population 700,000.

“We are writing to urge you to issue a Disaster Declaration for the City of El Paso regarding the current mass influx of migrants,” said the letter, obtained by KDBC-TV.

“With the unprecedented surge … we need to take this action now.”

The City of El Paso is spending $300,000 a day to shelter, feed and bus asylum-seeking immigrants to New York City — with the blessing of mayor Eric Adams — as well as Chicago.

In the month of September alone, the city could spend as much as $10 million, reports El Paso Matters.

Migrants, mostly from Venezuela, wait to board a bus to New York at the Migrant Welcome Center managed by the city of El Paso and the Office of Emergency Management, in El Paso, Texas.
REUTERS

The city admitted resources to care for the migrants are taking away from its departments — including first responders.

“It’s fire department, police department, public health — just about every department right now is being impacted,” Robert Cortinas, El Paso’s Chief Financial Officer told El Paso Matters.

The couincilmembers’ letter continued: “Our most fundamental responsibility is to ensure public safety,

“These are funds coming out of our general fund now. This is not only unsustainable but simply unfair to our community.”

Migrants who recently arrived from Venezuela after crossing from Mexico wait to be assigned a hotel room provided by the El Paso Office of Emergency Management on September 21, 2022
Migrants who recently arrived from Venezuela after crossing from Mexico wait to be assigned a hotel room provided by the El Paso Office of Emergency Management on Sept. 21, 2022.
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“Without the resources, both financial and logistical, that will be available via an emergency declaration, our ability to keep the City of El Paso safe for residents and migrants alike is being put in serious jeopardy.”

City Representative Claudia Rodriguez told The Post she saw 50 El Paso fire fighters on Tuesday working at the immigrant welcome center instead of being available to answer calls for citizens of El Paso.

She also noted a disaster declaration would shift the burden of responsibility for the migrants to the state and federal government and away from the City of El Paso.

City leaders are scrambling to deal with the highest levels of immigrants ever seen in the city, with the city so overwhelmed immigrants camp on its streets.

“We’re being very reactive to this when we should have been proactive in knowing that the surge was coming,” city counilwoman Rodriguez said.

Venezuelans seeking asylum in the US are behind the current immigrant surge.
Venezuelans seeking asylum in the US are largely behind the current immigrant surge.
REUTERS

“We should have been declaring that disaster declaration a lot sooner and had the resources available, [then] we wouldn’t be in this situation.”

El Paso’s mayor did not respond to The Post request for comment but Rodriguez told The Post she had not received a response from the mayor’s office.

“Prior to the letter, I talked to [the mayor] several times, asking him, urging him to declare a state of emergency and for some reason it’s not getting done,” said Rodriguez.

Wednesday night, the city shared on social media it had already been reimbursed by the federal government for some of the costs of the immigrant surge.

The City of El Paso is housing immigrants at local motels to keep them from camping out on the streets of downtown El Paso.
The City of El Paso is housing immigrants at local motels to keep them from camping out on the streets downtown.
Getty Images

“We have received some reimbursements from the federal government and have also received $2 million for future expenses. Pending reimbursements we expect to receive a total of over $2.5 million,” the city tweeted.

Rodriguez said even that money wouldn’t be enough to keep up with the increasing number of asylum-seeking immigrants..

“That money is only going to last us maybe 10 days the way that this is going,” she said.