El Paso Braces for Third Migrant Wave as Shelters Hit Capacity Limits


El Paso teeters on the precipice of its third wave of migrant arrivals, with local shelters straining at the seams of their capacity due to an increased influx, as reported by a senior official from the local charity organization.

The Opportunity Center for the Homeless, a nonprofit organization that runs three shelters, has been grappling with overcapacity for the past three weeks. The situation has been exacerbated as US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) increase the number of migrants released onto the streets.

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A record day saw 700 migrant street releases across El Paso. This prompted the intervention of the El Paso Office of Emergency Management, which resorted to housing migrants in hotels as a temporary solution.

The releases have triggered an unintended consequence in the form of a bottleneck scenario. Without sufficient resources to travel to their intended destinations, migrants are prolonging their stay in El Paso.

The motivations to immigrate to the US vary considerably. While some individuals seek refuge from violent circumstances in their home countries, others are purely in pursuit of improved financial prospects or to be reunited with their American-based family members.

A marked increase of migrants at the border has been observed in the region, where encounters average 1,200 per day. Nonprofits, city, and county officials have seen an excess of 1,100 individuals released to the community each day.

In a week’s span, more than 4,200 migrants have been given lodgings in hotels courtesy of the city. Meanwhile, the City of El Paso and the Office of Emergency Management continue to provide emergency shelter for the surging number of migrants, with an upwards of 900 migrants currently provided for in these temporary accommodations.

In response to inquiries about the release of migrants into US cities, the CBP stated that its actions were in line with their plan to lighten the load on regions along the Southwest border and process migrants into immigration enforcement proceedings adhering to US law.

Meanwhile, Southern California is also experiencing a surge in migrant arrivals. San Diego County has seen approximately 2,000 migrants settle in, prompting local aid groups to provide additional resources. Most of these migrants were in need of further assistance, with no forewarning provided about their arrival.

Echoing the imperative need for a planned solution to the ongoing situation, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria urges Congress to include the Biden Administration’s southwest border supplemental appropriations request in the forthcoming government funding package. This request includes a $600 million allocation to aid nonprofits in handling the continued sheltering and support operations for migrants.

The neighboring city of El Cajon, too, is feeling the pressure of the migrant surge, with mayor Bill Wells describing the situation as a disaster. He draw attention to the overwhelmed emergency rooms, full homeless shelters, and the excessive strain exerted on local resources.