MISSION, Texas (ValleyCentral) — On Thursday the city of Mission held an emergency city council meeting where Mayor Dr. Armando O’Caña signed a disaster declaration following the relocation of the migrant emergency camp in Anzalduas Park.
“Temporary shelters for the immigrants are going to be relocated from the McAllen area to the Mission-Anzalduas park,” said Mission City Manager Randy Perez, when he briefed the city council on the agenda item.
This emergency camp is where migrants, after being detained by Customs and Border Protection, are taken and tested for COVID-19. If they test positive, they are required to stay, and if they test negative they are transported to the Respite Center of the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley.
Mayor Dr. Armando O’Caña said the city of Mission has a contract with Hidalgo County to provide fire and medical first responders.
“That’s one of the areas where we are primary service to that area. I have to ensure that our first responders are notified that they are going into a COVID-19 situation,” said O’Caña.
Perez said they did not know the current headcount in the camp but the capacity is 250 which is expected to expand to 650. O’Caña said they have already sectioned off part of the city’s hospital for any migrants that might be transported there. There will also be medical staff on the outskirts of the facility.
O’Caña said the park is run by Catholic Charities and Health and Human Services. To O’Caña’s understanding, there is no way to enforce migrants to stay in the park.
“The only thing I can tell you is that when they are in the custody of the Catholic Charities it is my understanding that there’s no enforcement out to be able to mandate that they need to stay in a particular area other than the protocols from COVID-19,” said O’Caña.
Hidalgo County Precinct 3 constables are patrolling in the daytime and the city of McAllen will patrol at night, Mayor O’Caña said they have to prepare.
“Just the magnitude of the things that may happen—hopefully, they don’t, hopefully, they don’t, but I got to be ready with an action plan,” said O’Caña. “Obviously the federal government could do more, that’s no secret they could do more.”