RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (KVEO) — From 2014 to 2017 the city of McAllen spent nearly a million dollars on migrants, but they were only reimbursed $140,000.
With the recent influx of migrants, costs are again adding up.
Everyday more than 500 migrants are being dropped off in McAllen.
“There is a federal issue obviously taking place with immigration. We happen to be a border city, and so the brunch of that impact is in McAllen, and other cities along the border,” said Jeff Johnston, Assistant City Manager/Emergency Management Coordinator, City of McAllen.
Catholic Charities is taking the lead in providing them with basic needs and helping them find transportation to where they are going.
Since the federal government does not test the migrants for COVID-19, McAllen is testing them before they go into the respite center.
“McAllen’s participation has been with that testing area. To make sure they have they’ve got the equipment the logistics that they need right there at the testing site,” says Johnston. “This allows them to do their testing and then continue with their process with assisting these folks as they are headed to their final destination.”
The city also pays for transportation of migrants to sister facilities where they will spend a night when there is an overflow, and the cost is growing.
“Since early February our numbers are somewhere in the $30,000 to $40,000 range somewhere right along in there. By the end of this month I would expect they are going to be around $50,000,” said Johnston.
From May 2014 to June 2017, McAllen spent about $25,000 a month on Migrant Care, which is right on pace with what they are spending now.
The city of Brownsville says they have spent $43,000 on Migrant Care in the past 30 days. The city of Mission says they have incurred costs with their overflow shelter, but do not have a total available.
McAllen says it took years to get reimbursed and when they did it was only about 15 percent, but this time around they are more confident.
“The reimbursement has been significantly better. I would say since 2019, we’re probably somewhere near the 90 percent to 100 percent in the reimbursement range for the expenses,” said Johnston