On Saturday, the Mayor of El Paso, Texas, Oscar Leeser, expressed that the city had reached “a breaking point” due to the substantial influx of migrants entering the country from Mexico, with more than 2,000 asylum applications each day, resulting in overcrowded shelters and straining resources.
Mayor Oscar Leeser made the statement during a news conference, emphasizing that “the city of El Paso only has so many resources, and we have come to… a breaking point right now.”
A heightened flow of immigrants, primarily from Venezuela, has recently arrived, often traversing perilous routes on buses and cargo trains to reach border communities in Mexico near San Diego, California, as well as Texas cities like El Paso and Eagle Pass.
President Joe Biden has faced renewed political criticism as the U.S. gears up for the 2024 election following a previous decrease in migrant numbers.
Mayor Leeser announced that a new shelter would be opened in El Paso, and on Saturday, five buses were chartered to transport migrants to destinations such as New York, Chicago, and Denver.
Republican governors in Texas and Florida have faced criticism for relocating migrants to more liberal areas, such as New York and Sacramento. However, according to Democratic Mayor Leeser, migrants on the El Paso buses were all voluntarily choosing their destinations.
While Leeser acknowledged Biden as a good partner, he criticized the overall U.S. immigration system, describing it as “broken.”
He pointed out that many Venezuelan migrants lacked transportation means to reach their final destinations and stressed that the 400 people currently residing in El Paso’s shelter must also be available to assist the city’s homeless population.
Approximately six weeks ago, about 350 to 400 people entered El Paso daily, but over the past several days, the number has surged to 2,000 or more.
Leeser reported that the city had collaborated with the U.S. Border Patrol to accommodate 6,500 migrants over the last ten days.
Among those crossing into El Paso, about two-thirds are single men, while around 32% are families, and only 2% are unaccompanied children.
“I think it’s really important to note that we have a broken immigration system,” he stated. “It’s the same thing over and over again.”