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Migrants could be released on Texas streets due to spike in daily arrivals at US-Mexico border

{ }El Paso shelters overflowing with migrants. Opportunity Center for the Homeless. September 14, 2023. Credit: KFOX14/CBS4{p}{/p}
El Paso shelters overflowing with migrants. Opportunity Center for the Homeless. September 14, 2023. Credit: KFOX14/CBS4

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The U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas is now the busiest area when it comes to migrant encounters.

Border Patrol officials said they may have to go back to releasing migrants on the streets due to many migrants arriving at the border daily.

Since July, shelters in El Paso have all been over capacity.

It's a burden local non-profits will continue to deal with while Democrats and Republicans continue to disagree on how to fix the problem.

We have been shouldering the responsibility of congressional inaction; the consequences of congressional inaction for far too long," Congresswoman Veronica Escobar said.

Escobar said a lot of people blame the Biden administration for the situation at the border, but she said only Congress can fix the problem.

In May, Escobar and Florida Republican Maria Salazar introduced a bipartisan bill called the Dignity Act.

Escobar and Salazar said the Dignity Act would provide a 12-year path to legal status for undocumented migrants while first ensuring the border is secured.

We can't continue to wait for the perfect conditions, the perfect bill; wait for exactly what everybody wants in order to finally address this issue. The challenges that we are going to see is only going to get more significant," Escobar said.

El Paso is seeing almost 1,000 migrant encounters a day up from 800 in August, according to Border Patrol.

Now processing centers are overcapacity and local shelters are being pushed further past their limitations.

"We're very concerned. Yesterday was a good example where there was a potential for street releases last night," John Martin, the Deputy Director for the Opportunity Center for the Homeless, said.

The unfolding situation at the border has shelters asking for help.

"We need additional shelter capacity. We just recently had a meeting between ourselves, Sacred Heart, and Rescue Mission, and we need 400-500 more beds," Martin said.

The City of El Paso has been buying out hotels and is looking to purchase a vacant EPISD school to help make space but shelter leaders said they need to know more about the city's plans.

"We’re a little confused right now as to what the city’s plans are; we are very thankful for their work. If this is the trend that is going to continue forward, what is the short and long-term plan at this point?" Martin said.

KFOX reached out to Mayor Oscar Leeser Thursday morning to ask about their plans and did not receive a response.

Thursday evening Leeser and the City's Office of Emergency Management announced a news conference for Friday morning to provide an update on the migrant situation.

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