RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (KVEO) — Officials with the city of Laredo are suing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to stop the transfer of migrants from the Rio Grande Valley and other parts of Texas to their community.
The lawsuit was issued on Friday, July 16 against DHS on the basis that many migrants apprehended by Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley and Del Rio are sent to Laredo.
According to the complaint issued by city officials, the Border Patrol increased the number of busloads of migrants brought to Laredo from 3 per day to 6 per day.
This increase has made the migrant situation “progressively worse” for Laredo, according to court documents.
City officials are also concerned that not every arrested migrant is tested for COVID-19 and say this poses a threat to the Laredo community.
Laredo has shelters that take care of the migrants and quarantines the individuals if they contract COVID-19 but the lawsuit states that the abundance of people in their care is stretching beyond the organizations’ financial limitations.
Officials say in the lawsuit that Laredo is a medically underserved area and designated as a health professional shortage area.
These problems were amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic and the city’s weak medical infrastructure is not able to support the influx of migrants in need of hospitalization.
The lack of room in Laredo shelters and hospitals means that migrants sent to Laredo will have to be released into the general public and risk infecting the Laredo community.
Laredo officials are affirmatively asking that DHS stop sending migrants to the city until their shelters have more capacity to hold them.
DHS has yet to legally respond to this lawsuit.