The mayor of America’s largest southern border city has called for support from other countries and even the United Nations to help resolve the humanitarian crisis brought on by record flows of illegal migrants into the US.
“We need to work together, regardless of parties, because this is a US – United States – problem,” El Paso, Texas Mayor Oscar Leeser said on Wednesday in a CNN interview. “It’s not an El Paso problem, it’s a lot bigger than El Paso. I honestly believe it’s bigger than the United States. We need to work with the UN, to work with other countries to be able to come up with a program that becomes humanitarian for everyone.”
El Paso, which sits across the Rio Grande River from Juarez, Mexico in the southwestern corner of Texas, has become the epicenter of the US border crisis in recent weeks. Thousands of migrants have crossed into the city from Mexico this month. Last week, a caravan of more than 1,000 migrants streamed into El Paso in just one night.
Footage posted on social media by journalist Katie Daviscourt purports to show dozens of migrants sleeping on the floor at El Paso’s airport with Red Cross blankets. Leeser, who declared a state of emergency on Saturday, told CNN host Don Lemon that the city also has secured the use of two vacant schools to shelter more migrants.
El Paso officials are working with the federal government, the Red Cross, and other entities to help cope with the crisis, the Democrat mayor said, but “this is strictly a Band-aid on something that needs to be fixed in the very short-term.” He added, “We do know that we do have a broken immigration process, and it needs to be fixed.”
Border crossings by illegal migrants have surged to an all-time high since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, totaling 2.76 million in the government’s last fiscal year, which ended on September 30. The Biden administration is anticipating an even larger flood when it ends Title 42, a policy imposed by former President Donald Trump that gave the government the power to automatically expel migrants on public health grounds.
The Texas National Guard deployed troops to El Paso earlier this week and put up a razor-wire barrier to block illegal border crossings. Leeser told CNN on Tuesday that the Texas governor’s office assured him that the barrier was part of a three-hour training mission, but the razor wire remained up.
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