Brownsville: About $43,000 spent to help migrants, majority on employees helping migrants

Local News

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (KVEO) — The number of migrants crossing the border hit its highest since the mid-2000s in March. Although the city of Brownsville assists the migrants to get to their next destination, they don’t help pay for that trip.

After migrants are processed and released, they are allowed to move on to their final destination. Whether they take a bus or a plane, someone has to pay to get them there.

“We assist them in making sure that they reach out to their families, and the majority of that cost is on the family. Or the non-profit organizations step in and assist with the transportation,” said Felipe Romero, Public Information Officer for Brownsville.

Romero said that the city has spent around $43,000 assisting migrants to reach their final destination since the start of March and that he didn’t anticipate much more would be spent.

“It’s very minimal compared to other kinds of projects that we’re dealing with, and way minimal than what we’ve spent in terms of COVID-19,” said Romero.

The city has budgeted over $100 million in expenditures for 2021, so this expense is less than a percent of that.

You can view the entirety of Brownsville’s fiscal year 2021 budget here. The expenditures can be found on page 78.

Page from the Brownsville city budget for FY21.

The city intends to get the money it spent back.

“We’re documenting all of our expenditures, and hopefully at some point in time we will be reimbursed by the federal government or the state,” said Romero.

The majority of that $43,000 is spent on paying employees to help migrants get in touch with sponsors. Romero said the price is slightly elevated due to the pandemic.

“Number one priority is the health and safety of our community, our staff, and making sure that the migrants get to their destination and we mitigate risk as much as possible,” said Romero.

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