MISSION, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Officials from Hidalgo County and the City of McAllen held a press conference Thursday to announce the opening of an emergency shelter for COVID-positive migrants. The shelter is located inside Anzalduas Park in Mission.
Officials stated this decision was made to keep the public safe as Border Patrol and Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley are being overwhelmed with a mass influx of immigrants.
“This is a quickly moving situation and we are having to adapt to it,” said McAllen City Manager Roy Rodriguez.”We’re taking on this burden that we did not ask for and we did not create but our job in part is very simple and that is to protect our citizens.”
There are currently 250 migrants being placed at this shelter. Officials say most of them have tested positive for COVID-19, other migrants are family members that have chosen to say together.
Since the migrants are asking for asylum Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez said they are entering the U.S legally. Cortez says with the mass influx of migrants he’s urging the federal government to help.
“They have over-committed in a commitment that they can’t support so I would love to see them here,” Cortez said.”And I am extremely disappointed that we have received absolutely zero communication from the federal government and I hope that changes because there is evidence that this is causing problems in our community.”
The city of McAllen says it has a partnership with FEMA to pay to keep the emergency shelter operating.
“We asked that these functions and processes be refunded for a lot of reasons, and they agreed, and we are able to reimburse the city of Mcallen for these expenses,” Rodriguez said.
But as Anzalduas Park expects to see more migrants come in, Bishop Daniel Flores says local governments and charity organizations still need more help.
“We are doing everything we can with help of other agencies like our own Catholic Charities,” Flores said. “We are doing everything we can to kind of address the situation with dignity and organize is it as officiant and protect the local community this is very important.”