Texas border city puts up temporary shelters to cope with ‘rapidly escalating’ migrant surge

Homan: Biden admin’s answer to border crisis is to process and release people quicker

Fox News contributor Tom Homan on migrant surge.

The Texas border city of McAllen on Wednesday announced it is setting up temporary emergency shelters in response to what it describes as a “rapidly escalating” surge in migrants flooding across the border — and warning that the numbers are triggering a crisis in the city.

“Despite the City of McAllen and its community partners’ best efforts, the sheer number of immigrants being released into the city has become a crisis: a crisis the City of McAllen did not create and has proactively tried to avoid for seven years,” the city said in a statement.

The border town’s city commission approved setting up temporary emergency shelter for the “overwhelming number of immigrants stranded in McAllen by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.”

McAllen officials said the start of the current surge began in 2014 and has continued into 2021 — when the city has seen more than 87,000 migrants pass through. They said that, faced with a “rapidly escalating surge” of migrants, the city took action to “mitigate emergent health and safety risks.”

The embattled city described in its statement a situation in which migrants are being admitted into the U.S. after being detained only for a few days, and often without being tested for COVID-19 by the federal government. While many migrants are being returned via Title 42 public health protections, the Biden administration is not returning unaccompanied children and migrant families with small children.

In what it calls an “unacceptable flaw” in the immigration system, McAllen officials said the burden has fallen on the local branch of Catholic Charities, which has established centers to provide families with essentials and help them contact family members or others already in the country.

“However, in the last several weeks, due to the shockingly large number of immigrants released by CBP, the Respite Center’s capacity became overwhelmed, and threatened its ability to provide its humanitarian services to all in need,” the statement reads. “This significant change increases the threat of COVID spread or other lawlessness within the city.”

The numbers in the center have shot up from 750 people a day in July to more than 1,900 a day — past its 1,236 capacity, officials said.

The announcement comes amid increasing concern from Texas and elsewhere about the surge in migrants at the border. There were more than 188,000 migrant encounters in June, and that number is expected to rise above 200,000 in July — the highest number in decades.

An effort by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to order law enforcement to pull over vehicles carrying migrants to stop COVID-19 spread was blocked temporarily by a judge on Tuesday in response to a Justice Department lawsuit.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration, which has blamed the surge on “root causes” like poverty and violence in the countries of origin, has resumed some limited return flights for those ineligible for asylum and is reportedly planning on vaccinating migrants coming across the border or being deported.

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