BROWNSVILLE, Texas (KVEO) — The first group of migrants from the camp in Matamoros crossed into Brownsville Thursday morning.
Starting in 2019 during former President Donald Trump’s administration, people seeking asylum in the United States from Central and Latin American countries were forced to wait in Mexico. Under President Joe Biden, that is no longer the case.
Economists believe the relaxing of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), or the so-called “remain in Mexico” policy, could help the local economy in the Rio Grande Valley.
“You would need the infrastructure to be able to house individuals to process them, and so this is likely to mean additional resources to the region,” said Salvador Contreras, an economics professor at UTRGV.
During previous migrant crises in the past decade, cities in the Rio Grande Valley spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on humanitarian aid to migrants and weren’t always fully reimbursed by the government and had less money to spend elsewhere.
“Instead of spending money on other public services that you would expect from your municipality, they’re being spent on these humanitarian endeavors,” explained Contreras.
Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez said he isn’t worried about that happening again.
“It’s a different administration obviously, different morals, a different approach,” said Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez. “I’ve been in communication with the federal government and the Biden administration for some time, and I really don’t have any sort of concern of reimbursements, if necessary.”
While spending money for humanitarian purposes hurts local economies, being reimbursed helps it.
“So when the cities spend money and then get reimbursed back the money to spend on other things, it turns out that this is just more resources that can be spent in the region,” said Contreras.
According to Mendez, most of the migrants who are let into the United States through Brownsville won’t be in the city any longer than it takes to get to the airport or a bus stop.
“I do want to remind people most of these individuals that are here that are coming over are gone within 24 hours,” said Mendez.