McAllen approves temporary emergency shelters for migrants in response to increase

Local News

MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The city of McAllen approved setting up a temporary emergency shelter in response to the increase of migrants during a city commission meeting held Tuesday.

The city is asking Hidalgo County to place a “temporary emergency shelter on property in McAllen on 23rd Street for the overwhelming number of immigrants stranded in McAllen by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.”

A release also states the city is asking the federal government for relief due to the increase of individuals being released into the city by officials.

The current immigration surge began in 2014 under the Obama administration and has continued
for seven years to the present surge the community is now experiencing…

For context, in 2020 the total number of Tittle 42 Expulsions on the Southwest Border was 381,928. To date in 2021, in less time, a total of 566,959 Title 42 Expulsions hace occured on the Southwest Border.

In the release, the city states for the past seven years, Catholic Charites of the Rio Grande Valley have been able to handle the situation. However, the recent increase has been overwhelming.

According to the city of McAllen, since mid-February of 2021, there have been over 7,000 confirmed COVID-19 positive immigrants released into the City of McAllen by CBP, including over 1,500 new cases in the past seven days.

The Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley previously released a statement explaining that migrants were tested before entering the facility, negative cases were allowed in and positive cases were placed in other areas to avoid the continued spread of COVID-19.

Despite the City of McAllen and its community partners’ best efforts, the sheer number of immigrants being released into the city has become a crisis: a crisis the City of McAllen did not create and has proactively tried to avoid for seven years.

On Monday, the city of McAllen issued a local disaster declaration, for the city to receive resources from Hidalgo County and the state of Texas. Hidalgo County had also issued a local disaster declaration.

Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez told ValleyCentral in a previous interview that there is a nursing shortage and keeping up with COVID-19 hospitalization of residents has not been easy. In addition, the influx in asylum seekers testing positive for COVID-19 is also tipping the scale.

“But now we’re seeing that they’re coming in with a high infection for COVID, and there’s no room for them anymore,” said Cortez.

Cortez also told ValleyCentral the infection rate for migrants rose to a shocking 16%, doubling the numbers from last time. Sister Norma Pimentel of the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley also says the federal government needs to step in.

Both Cortez and McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos said they have not heard “a single word” from the federal government.

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