Mayor Leeser declares a State of Emergency which will go into effect at 12:01 am Monday, May 1 to prepare for the end of Title 42 on May 11.
— City of El Paso (@ElPasoTXGov) April 30, 2023
According to Leeser, the emergency declaration, which went into effect Monday, is a way to prepare for "the unknown" and ensure that asylum seekers remain safe. He added that the measure allows for the distribution of resources to organizations that shelter, care for and provide care to illegals who are released from processing centers:
The reason we’re declaring a state of emergency is to make sure we can stand up and prepare for May 11, May 12 ... to make sure we have public shelters, public housing. We will help and we will make sure that all our asylum seekers are treated with dignity and respect.
The emergency could be extended for 30 days
Lesser indicated that the emergency will last seven days and, if necessary, he will appeal to the City Council for an extension of 30 more days. He reiterated, "We are not opening the borders. The borders are not open today and they will not be open on May 12."
He added that the city will provide accommodations like schools and convention centers for the illegal migrants and will have resources at its disposal to provide transportation for immigrants who wish to reach another destination in the country:
These people don't come to El Paso...they come to the United States and our job as local officials and health care providers is to make sure that we can help them go and find transportation and move. Most people stay here for 24 to 48 hours, sometimes 72 hours, as they pass through.
Illegal migrant encampments on the streets
Lesser said the city expects between 10,000 and 12,000 people to arrive at the border on May 11 and 12 alone and said, "We know more will come right behind them."
The mayor indicated that the city will enforce local laws prohibiting illegal migrant encampments on the streets but noted that it will not deal with matters that fall under the purview of the federal government. These statements were made in reference to the situation of more than 500 immigrants who remained sleeping in the vicinity of a Catholic church after crossing the border last week:
Current situation outside of Sacred Heart Church in El Paso. We are 10 days away from when Title 42 is expected to be lifted. This is the most migrants I have ever seen in this area. pic.twitter.com/qnm5vzZKjF
— Shelby Kapp KTSM (@KappKtsm) May 2, 2023
Irene Armendariz-Jackson, president of the Border Security Coalition, posted a video showing "the conditions that Joe Biden's illegal invasion has caused. We can't go on living like this!
Here is a video of El Paso yesterday. These are the conditions Joe Biden’s illegal invasion has caused.
We can’t keep living like this!
More to come on this thread. pic.twitter.com/vvUjWaYf5c
— Irene Armendariz-Jackson (@ArmendarizDis16) April 30, 2023
Arrests and possible entry of illegal aliens
From October 2022 to March 2023, authorities made 265,037 immigration arrests in El Paso, compared to 307,844 for the entire 2022 fiscal year. A document signed by Lesser stated that the sector recorded 39,512 encounters with illegal migrants in the month of March alone.
Referring to this issue, the mayor pointed directly to the federal government and refuted the statements of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who indicated a few months ago that "our entire immigration system is broken":
There is no end to this. This is still going to continue... we cannot continue as a city and as a country because the federal system is broken.
Mayorkas admitted that March saw a 25% spike in the number of border encounters. In addition, he announced that when Title 42 was no longer in effect, his department also anticipated an increase in illegal border crossing attempts. According to a DHS report, the number of expected illegal migrant encounters matches that offered by the El Paso mayor's office: about 13,000 encounters per day, which would project to 390,000 per month.