EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Federal officials are releasing fewer migrants into the community, but the El Paso City Council on Monday nonetheless re-enacted an emergency ordinance to deal with the humanitarian and public safety impact of border migration. The ordinance allows for the use of public resources to assist private shelters.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is releasing between 200 to 250 migrants daily in the month of July in the El Paso Sector, compared to 200 to 400 in June and 300 to 400 in May, the City Council learned in a presentation in Monday’s work session.

“When there is less apprehensions or encounters, that equals to less releases that go to our local NGOs (non-governmental organizations). We are in a good position, currently,” Officer of Emergency Management Coordinator Jorge Rodriguez told the council.

A key slide from El Paso's Office of Emergency Management presentation. (City of El Paso Photo)
A key slide from El Paso’s Office of Emergency Management presentation. (City of El Paso Photo)

According to CBP, the number of migrants apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol in the El Paso Sector dropped from 34,642 in May to 26,243 in June. But the Office Field Operations reported an increase in migrant encounters at area ports of entry, up from 1,662 in May to 1,807 in June.

The OEM still has 41 local government employees “helping out” at El Paso nonprofit shelters, the largest of which is scheduled to close on July 31. El Paso County government is looking into the possibility of establishing an outbound migrant processing facility to fill the void.

Jorge Rodriguez

CBP’s Central Processing Center, which processes migrants not immediately expelled under a federal public health order, “has plenty of capacity — there’s no strain there,” Rodriguez said. “There was some concern there might be a rush of people with (the rollback of) MPP, but that has not materialized, and we’re not anticipating it is going to happen.”

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled President Biden may end the Migrant Protection Protocols program, also known as Remain in Mexico. Faced with a previous court order, the administration sent more than 7,000 asylum seekers to await the outcomes of their cases in Mexico, which is far less than the more than 65,000 the Trump administration sent back prior to 2021.

But the fate of the Title 42 public health order — which border agents say is one of the tools that has allowed them to manage large-scale migrant surges three out of the past four years — remains in the courts. “We don’t know when Title 42 is going to be repealed,” Rodriguez said, though planning and interagency cooperation continues for such an event.

Agenda item the El Paso City Council voted on. (City of El Paso Photo)
Agenda item the El Paso City Council voted on. (City of El Paso Photo)

“We continue to support local NGOs with personnel at Casa del Refugiado and also with smaller needs from cots to mass feeding,” he told the council. “We continue to monitor transportation infrastructure – there’s plenty of capacity there. We continue to provide rapid tests to our shelters without any significant increase – no outbreaks, no COVID.”

The council voted 8-0 to reenact the emergency ordinance approved last May.