EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Two shelter facilities at vacant El Paso ISD middle schools are ready to receive migrants that are expected to come in larger numbers when Title 42 expires on May 11.
Bassett Middle and Morehead Middle schools were previously used as migrant sheltering facilities when they opened in December of last year.
City officials said during the press conference on Sunday that the shelters were not broken down since and will be used for this expected surge.
As we see with hundreds of migrants camping by Sacred Heart Church and the Opportunity Center for the Homeless, these shelters are already at capacity.
The difference between churches and NGOs as opposed to city-ran shelters is that the latter are federally funded and can only be used for migrants that have been processed and are petitioning for asylum.
“If we do offer any services through money that is given to us by the federal government that money would not be available to us at that point,” Mayor Oscar Leeser said.
Leeser explained they could lose the funds if they utilize them for undocumented migrants. However, they are instructing the Red Cross to assist local NGOs and churches.
So far, the city received a little over $20 million of upfront federal funding.
Deputy City Manager Mario D’Agostino said in the press conference on Sunday that they are trying to make these funds last as long as possible, saying that the city used $300,000 a day at the end of last year to keep these shelters open.
A large portion of the funds were used for transportation too, D’Agostino said, which is one of the reasons why they issued a state of emergency declaration.
“Everybody wants to know how many people we can put in these facilities. That’s to be determined. It determines on the population that we’re seeing,” D’Agostino said on the capacity of these two shelters.
He explained, depending on the population, they will need to plan out how to separate families from single men or single women with children.
The plan is for those shelters to allow temporary housing for one to three days before migrants are provided with transportation to larger hubs.
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