EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Breathing a sigh of relief but keeping their guard up, El Paso city officials on Tuesday kept in place an emergency ordinance to deal with mass migration through the region.
“No major updates. Fortunately for the community, the numbers have been low,” Emergency Management Coordinator Jorge Rodriguez told the City Council.
Not just El Paso but many other cities along the U.S.-Mexico border had been bracing for an unprecedented spike in migration once Title 42 public health order expulsions ended on May 11. Instead, the opposite happened. The number of daily unauthorized crossings declined substantially.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection data released Tuesday afternoon show the Border Patrol apprehended 98,850 foreign nationals between ports of entry from May 1 to May 11, but only 70,394 from May 12 to May 31 nationwide.
The Department of Homeland Security attributed that to reinstating Title 8 processing that includes loss of future immigration benefits for those found ineligible to remain in the country, and jail time for repeat offenders. DHS now requires foreign nationals on their way to the border to apply for protection in other countries first or procure an appointment online through the CBP One app.
The lower numbers mean El Paso has not had to worry about its local shelters being overcrowded or migrants being released on the streets like they were in late November and early December.
“We are seeing a transition from Border Patrol transferring to our (nonprofits). Now, we’re seeing a flip where the bulk of our numbers are coming through the CBP One application and those releases are coming at the ports of entry,” Rodriguez told the council. “It’s a much more orderly method than we’ve seen in the past.”
Rodriguez explained the spike at the start of May but said that El Paso nonprofits are welcoming a manageable 200 migrants per day, since. He said the OEM remains vigilant of migrant trends in the region.
“We always have these planning efforts in the ready position in case we need to expand any of our objectives,” he said, referring to everything from temporary housing and transportation to public health, security and cost-recovery for the city.
The council voted 8-0 to extend an ordinance allowing the city to deploy municipal employees to assist at nonprofit shelters and to utilize city resources as needed, for another 30 days, to deal with a humanitarian, economic and public safety emergency. Mayor Oscar Leeser consented to continue a state of disaster as well.