Migrant Crisis

Migrant Crisis

FAQ's

  1. Who are the people crossing into El Paso?
    The people crossing come from all parts of the world.  The situation is dynamic.  However, the main countries migrants are coming from today are Venezuela, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Cuba.  Though the numbers have been as high as 90% and as low as 50% from Venezuela,  the number is currently holding at approximately 70%.   The remainder of migrants are from other countries including Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Cuba.   

  2. When did the current surge begin?
    The migrant crisis has been ongoing since 2018.  The current wave of migrants coming to El Paso began in April 2022 and the sudden surge we are seeing now started in late August. The number of people released to the City of El Paso and local non-government organizations (NGOs; i.e., humanitarian agencies) has grown from approximately 250 per day in early August to as high as over 1,000 per day during the month of September 2022.  The number fluctuates daily and is currently averaging 900 per day.

  3. Is everyone crossing a single adult?
    The situation is dynamic, but today, those crossing are predominantly single adults.  However, those crossing the border into El Paso are also a mixture of families with young children and single adults.

  4. Where are these individuals and family units coming from?
    Today, approximately 70% of the individuals and family units come from Venezuela. The remaining individuals and family units come from other countries, predominantly in South and Central America. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) encounter/apprehend the migrants and process them before releasing them into the City of El Paso.

  5. Are families separated when they arrive?
    No, the City of El Paso does not separate families. We are providing assistance to keep immediate and extended families together but some are separated  as they cross into our country.  We communicate with other shelters to try to reunify families when possible.  As needed, families are provided accommodation in hotels so that family units may remain together.  The City of El Paso has been providing sheltering by utilizing hotels during the surge we are currently experiencing.

  6. How do these people arrive in El Paso?
    For most, their journey starts in South America. The migrants travel through one of the world’s most dangerous migration routes known as the Darien Gap into Central America and Mexico, eventually arriving at the El Paso-Juarez border. The migrants arrive by bus, train, or walking, and some arrive via airplane into Mexico. 

  7. How many people arrive each day?
    According to Customs and Border Patrol officials, an average of 1,500 migrants present themselves daily to CBP in the El Paso region.  Once processed, approximately 800 - 1000 are released to local NGOs.  They are also released to the City of El Paso.  Once we receive them, we take them through the triage process at our  welcome center.  There, we ensure we welcome them, help shelter them through hotels and through our support with the NGOs, through the staffing we provide to these non-profits.  We feed them and give them water, and we then help get them to their destination through transports like chartered buses.

  8. How many migrants have arrived since the wave started?
    From April 2022 to mid-September 2022, more than 62,000 people have passed through El Paso. In September alone, more than 13,000 have passed through El Paso, the highest number so far, as compared to other months.

  9. Why is this movement into El Paso happening now?
    They are arriving in El Paso because it is currently the safest place to cross the Rio Grande River into the United States.  Also, as we know, migrants are coming to the United States to escape economic devastation and extreme crime in Venezuela.

  10. Why are they allowed to cross into the country?
    Migrants are provided asylum from economic oppression, drug trade, and human trafficking.  Customs and Border Patrol apprehend and process the migrants before releasing them into El Paso. Migrants are assigned court dates to determine their status in the United States.  Additionally, due to U.S. and Venezuelan diplomatic relations, Venezuelans are not able to be deported.

  11. What is the City of El Paso doing to help migrants passing through our community?
    The City of El Paso places our priority on the individual migrant, providing food and water, connectivity, transportation assistance and temporary shelter, if needed.  We treat migrants with respect and dignity, as they transit through El Paso, and help them arrive at their destination of choice, where they can meet with family and sponsors.  We have over 100 people helping with this humanitarian crisis.

  12. Who are the partners working with the City of El Paso to support this humanitarian care operation?
    Federal and State officials, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) such as the Annunciation House, the Salvation Army, the Opportunity Center, and Sin Fronteras are working with the City of El Paso to provide food and shelter. In addition, the City is working with officials and NGOs in New York City and Chicago to coordinate transportation in those cities, as these are the most common destinations of choice for the migrants.

  13. Why are migrants on the streets, at the Greyhound Bus Station, and at the El Paso International Airport?
    Street releases are a last resort for Customs and Border Patrol.  When necessary, due to capacity issues and federal regulations which limit the amount of time migrants may be held, street releases of migrants are done near travel sites, such as the El Paso Airport and Greyhound Bus Station. The City provides daily roving teams to assist migrants who have been released on the streets with temporary shelter, food and water, communication, and transportation arrangements so that they may meet up with family or sponsors in other parts of the U.S.

  14. Does the City of El Paso detain these people?
    No, the City of El Paso does not detain any migrant.  The Federal Government apprehends migrants through Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). Once CBP has processed migrants, they are free to travel within the U.S.  At this point, we help them coordinate transportation to their final destination.

  15. Does the City of El Paso transport these people without their permission?
    No. The City of El Paso helps the migrants with travel arrangements to destination cities of their choice so they can meet up with their sponsors, friends, and family.

  16. How is the City of El Paso paying for the costs of welcoming, feeding, processing, and transporting these people to their destinations of choice?
    The City of El Paso is utilizing funds from the general fund to pay for costs related to the migrant crisis. The City of El Paso continues to file for reimbursement through Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Emergency Food and Shelter Program.  We work closely with Congresswoman Escobar’s office, FEMA, the White House, and CBP  to secure funding for the migrant crisis.

  17. How much, on average, is the City of El Paso spending each day to care for these people?
    The cost has risen from $55,000 a day to up to $250,000 daily. As the number of migrants rises, so do the costs accrued by the City of El Paso. El Paso continues to request reimbursement through FEMA’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program.

  18. What is the State of Texas doing to assist the City of El Paso with this humanitarian care operation?
    The migrant response has been a local operation this entire time.  The State of Texas provided support from the Texas Division of Emergency Management. The State sent the Texas State Guards to see our operations in anticipation of providing help processing migrants.  However, they only remained in El Paso for a few days.  The City of El Paso remains in control of migrant operations which include providing food and  water, temporary shelter (hotel stays) and transporation.  The City also has over 100 individuals working on this operation. 

  19. What is the Federal government doing to assist the City of El Paso with this humanitarian operation?
    The Federal government will reimburse the City of El Paso through FEMA’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program on a quarterly basis.The Federal Government recently reimbursed the City $482,000 from a request made in December 2021. The City of El Paso will be submitting for reimbursement on additional costs up to $3 million in October. The City of El Paso has received an additional $2 million for the cost of operations going forward, with the understanding we will request additional funding for the upcoming fiscal year.  Congresswoman Escobar has championed efforts to secure reimbursement for the migrant crisis response.    The City has met with Congresswoman Escobar and with FEMA officials for the reimbursement.  The Mayor has also met with the White  House several times regarding the pending reimbursement request.

  20. How can members of the community help with this humanitarian care operation?
    Members of the community can help by volunteering their time at local NGO shelters and making monetary donations to local NGO shelters.  Physical donations at this point are not being requested.

    The following organizations are accepting donations:
    Annunciation House
    1003 E. San Antonio
    El Paso, TX  79901
    (915) 545-4509,

    Sin Fronteras
    201 E Ninth Ave
    El Paso, TX 79901
    (915) 248-5567