EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Migrant-related expenses by the City of El Paso are in excess of $4 million as of last Friday, city officials confirmed. Expenses include charter buses, hotel rooms, meals ready to eat and snacks for the migrants as they are bused to destinations outside El Paso.
The city got involved in migrant transportation/hospitality due to the U.S. Border Patrol dropping off paroled asylum-seekers in Downtown streets because of overcrowding at its processing facilities and nonprofit shelters being full. Some migrants found themselves sleeping in tents on the sidewalks near the Greyhound Bus Station Downtown.
The Border Patrol was apprehending an average of 1,560 migrants per day in between ports of entry as of last week. That’s a surge in monthly unauthorized migration likely to have surpassed the 38,630 volume reported in June of 2019.
City Council members last Tuesday expressed concerns about the Biden administration fully reimbursing the city for those expenses. Mayor Oscar Leeser said at the last council meeting the city could be reimbursed and has been allocated a $2 million advance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to cover ongoing migrant expenses.
As of Friday evening, the city had not received those $2 million, which were still in the federal government’s “processing portal,” the city said in an email to Border Report.
The city last month approved a $2 million charter bus contract, which had to be supplemented last Tuesday with an additional $4 million on-call contract due to busing demand.
Many of those being released by the Border Patrol are Venezuelan nationals without sponsors in the United States which the Biden administration is neither returning to Mexico nor to Venezuela.
The city’s Office of Emergency Management is also operating a migrant processing/welcome center in Northeast El Paso, and the County of El Paso expects to open one soon, this one for migrants who do have sponsors.
The email said the city will submit all migrant costs for reimbursement, but city staff has been advised “that there is always a possibility that we won’t get 100 percent reimbursement.”