EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Lawmakers in the state of Tamaulipas are asking the Mexican government to declare an emergency over the latest migrant surge that has brought thousands of Central Americans and others to border cities like Reynosa and Matamoros.

Speaking this week on the floor of the state legislature, Myrna Flores Cantu said municipalities lack resources – food, housing, medicines – for the newcomers and that things could get worse in days to come.

“Despite the pandemic, we are seeing the highest number of migrants in the past three years,” said Flores, a state representative for the National Action Party (PAN), while introducing a resolution asking Mexico City for help. “The number of migrants is up 431 percent with respect to 2018.”

Flores said thousands of caravans – some massive, others consisting of small groups – have come across the Mexico-Guatemala border bringing more than 600,000 migrants during that period. “This has brought about grave social problems, such as irregular housing,” she said.

Myrna Flores Cantu

The lawmaker says the National Immigration Institute (INM) has documented the arrival of more than 15,000 migrants to Reynosa since January 1. Many have crossed the border, but thousands remain at a migrant shelter and a city park called Plaza de la Republica, or are out on the streets.

“We want to call on (the Ministry of the Interior) to implement an emergency strategy to control and reduce the massive flow of migrants who enter illegally into Mexican territory through our southern border because most migrant caravans end up in border cities in Tamaulipas, generating serious social problems that overwhelm our resources,” Flores said.

Members of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s MORENA Party blocked the resolution, but other politicos agree there’s a problem that could quickly get worse with the arrival of new migrants.

“This is now a humanitarian issue, not a political one,” said Tamaulipas state Rep. Juan Garza of the PRI party. Immigration “is a federal issue, but when they get to our state it becomes a local issue. We need a comprehensive plan. We need to do something quick because soon we’ll have cold weather and those people are out in the open. There are a lot of children with them.”