El Paso mayor, residents react to migrant crisis as thousands cross border

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The recent surge of migrants across the southern border has strained city resources and homeless shelters in El Paso, but residents Fox News spoke to were divided on whether the increase is cause for concern.

“I think it’s great that Joe Biden let everyone in,” Michael said. “This country could use workers of all kinds. Right? Teachers, Venezuelan restaurants. And I think that’s a good thing for America.”

Residents of the border town are used to migrants filtering through, but have noticed an increase in the past few months. Last week showed pictures crowd of migrants camped out on city streets when local homeless shelters ran out of space. Now the sidewalks are free of sleeping bags and tents, and there are less frequent crowds outside the Greyhound station, but shelter workers not sure how long the break will last.

Carmen told Fox News she is “very disappointed” in the city’s response.

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Michael, of El Paso, says he supports the city's transportation of migrants to other destinations in the United States

Michael, of El Paso, says he supports the city’s transportation of migrants to other destinations in the United States
(Fox News Digital)

“I think they have to find a way to make things work better for [the migrants] and for us,” she said. “They’re just sleeping anywhere and everywhere, and there’s no more room in the homeless shelters anymore. So, you know, it’s pretty bad.”

Republican governments. Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida has met with criticism to transport migrants to blue cities, with some Democrats comparing the practice to “human trafficking.”

El Paso has also sent more than 80 busloads of migrants to New York City and Chicago as of Thursday, Deputy City Manager Mario D’Agostino told Fox News. But Mayor Oscar Leeser, a Democrat, has largely been immune from criticism. Leeser said the city sends migrants where they want to go.

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“We would never use people as pawns to send them elsewhere,” Leeser said. “We want to send them to say where they want to go, where they have friends and family.”

Michael said he supports the city’s transportation of migrants to other American cities as long as the migrants had family or other connections in those places.

“If they don’t, then they should provide some kind of shelter right here in El Paso until they can get back on their feet,” he said.

A Customs and Border Protection bus drops off dozens of migrants, mostly from Venezuela, at the city of El Paso's Migrant Welcome Center on September 22, 2022.

A Customs and Border Protection bus drops off dozens of migrants, mostly from Venezuela, at the city of El Paso’s Migrant Welcome Center on September 22, 2022.
(Fox News Digital)

Carmen agreed that other cities should share the responsibility of caring for migrants.

“El Paso is already overwhelmed by so many people,” she said.

Jose told Fox News that he knows the influx of migrants is “a burden on the city,” but said the United States has played a role in destabilizing Latin American governments for decades.

“Our government has sent dictators into other countries who have caused distress to these people,” he said. “So now we as a country have to help these people out.”

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Jose described the strain on shelters and the city as a “temporary discomfort.” He said he hopes other states will also continue to accept some migrants.

“My parents also came to this country without documents, but they stabilized,” he said. “They were able to get their immigration documents. And we’ve thrived. We’ve contributed to the community in many ways.”

Jose says American cities should welcome migrants despite "temporary discomfort" and load on the resources.

Jose says US cities should welcome migrants despite the “temporary discomfort” and strain on resources.
(Fox News Digital)

Jose’s son, Jose Jr., told Fox News that he believes that Americans across the country should welcome migrants into their society.

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“This is America,” he said. “We’ve always told people this is the land of opportunity. And if you’re willing to take the time and work toward a better opportunity in life, this is where you’ll come and thrive.”

Leeser said safety is the city’s top priority going forward.

“Having people on the streets would not be what you want to do in your community,” he said. “El Paso is one of the safest cities in the country and will continue to be.”

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