Amid a spike in migrant encounters at the southern border, the City of El Paso, Texas, launched a migrant dashboard Saturday to follow activity at its welcome center.
The city has served more than 14,900 migrants since early September and bused thousands to cities further north.
More than 8,000 migrants have been transported from El Paso to New York and about 2,300 to Chicago since August 23, when the busing program began, according to the dashboard. The migrants are offered the city-funded journeys after being processed and released by the Border Patrol.
The “Migrant Situational Awareness Dashboard” also displays the weekly US Customs and Border Protection encounters and releases, as well as the city resources used in the effort.
“This tool provides transparency to our community on the current humanitarian crisis and how it is being handled daily,” Deputy City Manager Mario D’Agostino said in a news release. “From day one, we have been open about how we are respectfully serving the migrants passing through our community and our substantial emergency efforts to deal with the ongoing humanitarian crisis.”
The buses of migrants sent out by El Paso are in addition to the thousands of migrants the state of Texas has bused to New York City, Washington, DC, and Chicago since August.
As more migrants arrive in New York, Mayor Eric Adams on Friday declared a state of emergency to help respond to New York City’s migrant crisis, which he says will cost the city $1 billion this fiscal year. “We now have a situation where more people are arriving in New York City than we can immediately accommodate, including families with babies and young children,” Adams said.
New York City now has more than 61,000 people in its shelter system, including thousands experiencing homelessness and thousands of asylum-seekers who have been bused in over recent months from other parts of the country, according to the mayor.
D’Agostino previously told CNN the unprecedented surge in migration has been testing El Paso’s infrastructure.
Each day, border officials encounter an average of 1,500 migrants in the El Paso region, according to the city’s website.
The increase created a shelter issue, with some migrants being sent to hotels, according to D’Agostino.
El Paso opened its migrant respite center last month after shelters reached maximum capacity and people started pitching tents on the street.
A short drive away, El Paso’s Border Patrol Sector also recently erected an open-air triage-style processing center under a highway overpass to help process migrants faster. The center includes sections for intake, medical care and a waiting area, as well as buses equipped with processing technology parked on-site.
About 70% of the migrants arriving at El Paso come from Venezuela and are heading to El Paso because it is “currently the safest place to cross the Rio Grande River into the United States,” according to the city of El Paso’s website.
After making the dangerous journey, recently arrived migrants and asylum-seekers are entering a highly complicated and backlogged immigration system. This fiscal year alone, US immigration courts recorded more than 819,000 new immigration cases.
US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus said the latest wave of migration is mostly driven by people fleeing the “failing communist regimes” in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba, who are generally not subject to Title 42, the pandemic public health order which allows authorities to swiftly expel some migrants to Mexico or their home countries.
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