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In 'Chaotic' El Paso, Officials Expect A New Migrant Surge

As federal immigration authorities continue to release migrants by the thousands, El Paso, Tx., officials and local charities are near a breaking point in the sprawling border city. Large groups of migrants, including a contingent of Nicaraguans who crossed the border on Sunday, have been streaming across the Rio Grande in recent days. U.S. Border Patrol facilities housed more than 5,000 people on Wednesday and roughly 1,700 migrants were released, the Wall Street Journal reports. “My country is hard; there’s no work and our president is very bad,” said Katherine Urbina, a 28-year-old from Nicaragua who was traveling with relatives and friends. “We can’t buy rice and beans. If you buy one, you can’t buy the other.” Urbina said she and relatives were part of the large group that crossed on Sunday and spent several hours standing on the U.S. side of the river, waiting to surrender to Border Patrol so they could ask for asylum.

It is unclear what triggered the latest wave of migrants, but authorities suspect the impending end of Title 42 is a factor. The law was first used at the border by the Trump administration at the start of the pandemic to block most migrants from being allowed into the U.S. to apply for asylum. Federal authorities have warned that its end could lead to a significant rise in border crossings. A federal judge has ordered the Biden administration to stop expelling migrants under the law by Dec. 21. El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser and Mario D’Agostino, the city’s deputy city manager for public safety, said the city is bracing for another surge of migrants should Title 42 expire as scheduled next week. Federal authorities have suggested the volume of migrants crossing at El Paso could double to about 5,000 a day. “That’s where the federal government and state will need to help us,” the mayor said. “This is bigger than El Paso.” “It’s chaotic,” said John Martin of El Paso’s Opportunity Center for the Homeless.


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