El Paso, a city located on the US-Mexico border, has declared a state of emergency due to a surge in border crossings and overwhelmed law enforcement.
Mayor Oscar Leeser announced the state of emergency on Saturday, stating: “I said from the beginning that I would call it when I felt that either our asylum seekers or community were not safe.”
El Paso is expecting an influx of migrants when Title 42, a Trump-era immigration policy that restricted the number of asylum seekers allowed into the US during the COVID-19 pandemic, expires on December 21.
In response to the emergency declaration, Leeser is requesting additional resources and support from the state, including personnel to feed and house migrants, transport resources to move migrants to other cities, and additional law enforcement officers to ensure the safety of both residents and migrants.
The mayor anticipates that the number of migrants in the city will increase significantly on December 21, with the total expected to reach between 4,000 and 6,000.
The city council will have the opportunity to ratify the emergency declaration, which will remain in effect for seven days. Governor Greg Abbott assured Leeser that he would only take action after consulting with the mayor’s office, stating: “He said ‘Mayor I’m going to tell you something we will never do anything without talking to you first and we won’t impose anything without talking to you first.”
Joe Biden has chosen not to continue the Title 42 rules and courts have allowed them to expire. Nineteen Republican states, including Texas, have sued to keep the rules in place.