Migrant shelters in El Paso will see an influx of people as Title 42 expires
El Paso, Texas – US cities bordering Mexico are bracing for an influx of migrants as pandemic-era policies expire on Thursday. US officials said they expect more than 10,000 migrants to arrive in the United States every day.
Nicole Roulet, marketing manager at Rescue Mission El Paso, said the number of migrants downtown is the highest she’s ever seen in the city.
The shelter is located a mile from the epicenter of the city’s migrant crisis, in Sacred Heart Church, where hundreds of migrants are sleeping on the sidewalks. In the shelter itself, they were expanded to another building to prepare for the influx of migrants. 180 families live in one building, and 75 single men and women live in the other. Their biggest obstacle was staffing, but the Red Cross came pouring in to volunteer.
In a new shelter run by the Red Cross, Venezuelan migrant Ivana and Brazilian migrant Carlos Tarzan and Jane are nicknamed.
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“We met in the jungle,” Ivana laughs.
It took Carlos 8 months to get from Brazil to El Paso, where he says he was on the run from the Mafia.
“If I have to go back to my country, I will kill myself,” Carlos said.
Travel months in the United States are tough. According to Carlos, the most difficult part of the trip is not the jungle, but the crossing through Mexico. They say people will rob you, take you away, rape women. One of their phones was stolen during a trip to Mexico.
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Ivana worked as a teacher in Venezuela.
“A professional university or public school teacher earns about $5 a month,” Ivana said. That compares to a $3 bag of arepas, he said.
Ivana’s mother and her 8-year-old sister go to Chicago and live in a shelter there. Once Carlos and Ivana have enough money, they meet his family in Chicago. They have paperwork and an immigration appointment at the end of the month, but they’re trying to find work to pay for their trip to Chicago.
In downtown El Paso, migrants set up makeshift tents to hide from the Texas heat. Hundreds of people are waiting for work, attractions or other people inside the walls of the Church of the Sacred Heart. Many say that if they earn the fare, they will go to another city.
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More migrants are expected when Title 42 is repealed on Thursday. The policy eased the deportation of migrants due to the threat of covid-19. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations are transitioning to the 8th Immigration Order.
“We know we’re expecting a big increase, but we still don’t know what it’s going to look like,” Reulet of the El Paso Rescue Mission said of the event. waiting for a lot of people.
El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser said a state of emergency has been declared in the city. They are ready to open two schools and a civic center for asylum seekers if needed. While Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has criticized the Biden administration for not doing enough to stem the flow of migrants, Leeser credits the federal government for helping the city with what it needs.
Raul Ortiz, head of the US Border Patrol, said that between Friday and Monday, they detained more than 26,000 migrants, and more than 7,000 escaped.
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Governor Abbott deployed 200 more National Guardsmen to El Paso on Monday to prevent illegal border crossings.
“America is not open to people trying to come here illegally,” Abbott said.
Starting Tuesday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and agents will conduct targeted patrols in El Paso, but not anywhere that could prevent people from receiving essential services. The Border Patrol union has criticized the move, telling the men where to hide and not to be arrested.
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