The migration situation is dynamic, with people from all over the world crossing along our portion of the U.S.-Mexico border. However, more than 60 percent of migrants arriving are Venezuelan.
The majority of the individuals the City is assisting are unsponsored. Sponsored individuals have family or friends who are U.S. citizens who agree to support them while they go through the immigration process. Unsponsored individuals do not have that support but have been processed and allowed to go through the immigration process here in the U.S.
The migrant crisis has been ongoing since 2018, with surges in 2019, 2021, 2022, and now in 2023. The number of migrants fluctuates daily.
The migrant crisis has been ongoing since 2018, with periodic surges and lulls. We are currently experiencing a surge. The number of migrant encounters reported by the CBP has grown dramatically and is averaging between 1,500 and 2,000 per day. The number fluctuates daily.
No. While the percentage of migrants are predominantly single adults, we are seeing more than 40 percent are families with young children and extended relatives.
No, the City of El Paso does not separate families. We are providing assistance to keep immediate and extended families together, but some families do become separated during their journey. We are in constant communication with other shelters to try to reunify families when possible. As needed, families are provided accommodation so that they may remain together. The City of El Paso provides shelter primarily through the utilization of NGO shelters. The City also works to provide temporary shelter at local hotels and with authorization the City activates temporary shelter facilities.
For most, their journey starts in South America. Migrants arriving from countries in the lower Western Hemisphere travel through one of the world’s most dangerous migration routes known as the Darien Gap, into Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico, eventually arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. The migrants arrive by bus, train, or on foot, while others fly into Mexico and make their way to the U.S.-Mexico border.
The situation is dynamic, but during peak surges, CBP officials report an average of 1,500 to 2,000 migrants present themselves daily in the El Paso region. Once the CBP processes the migrants they may be released to the community. Again, the totals vary, but during peak surges the CBP may release between 400 and 1,000 per day to either the NGOs, City or County officials.
Migrants who have been processed and released by CBP may choose to stay in City-operated shelters where staff and volunteers work to help them arrange transportation to their next destinations. When migrants enter our shelters, they are provided sleeping accommodations, food, water, first aid, and transportation. All shelters (that are not hotels) maintain a closed campus with security presence to keep both migrants and citizens safe. A closed campus means migrants stay on the premises until their travel arrangements have been made. If at any point while arrangements are being made, they decide to leave the shelter, migrants are free to leave but unable to return into the shelter’s premises. They will have to restart the sheltering and travel arrangement process again. This procedure ensures the health and safety of the community and the migrants.
Migrants who have been processed and released by CBP may choose to stay in City-operated shelters where staff and volunteers work to help them arrange transportation to their next destinations. When migrants enter our shelters, they are provided sleeping accommodations, food, water, basic first aid, and transportation. All shelters (that are not hotels) maintain a closed campus with security presence to keep both migrants and citizens safe. A closed campus means migrants stay on the premises until their travel arrangements have been made. If at any point while arrangements are being made, they decide to leave the shelter, migrants are free to leave but unable to return into the shelter’s premises. They will have to restart the sheltering and travel arrangement process again. This procedure ensures the health and safety of the community and the migrants.
Migrants are coming to the United States for various reasons, including escaping economic devastation and crime in Venezuela. People are seeking asylum from their home countries and the ability to live and work in the U.S.
The federal government recently announced that migrants from Venezuela who arrived prior to July 31, 2023, are eligible for temporary work visas to work in the U.S. (approximately 400,000 individuals). Unfortunately, confusion regarding eligibility to receive work visas under this federal action has encouraged increased numbers of people to cross into the U.S.
Migrants are arriving in El Paso because it is currently the safest place to cross the Rio Grande into the United States.
Asylum is granted to people from foreign nations who meet the legal qualifications for refugee status. A refugee is legally defined as a person who is unable or unwilling to return to their home country due to fear of being persecuted due to their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Many of the migrants we are seeing at the border are fleeing from economic oppression, the drug trade, and human trafficking. CBP apprehends and processes migrants before releasing them into El Paso. Migrants are assigned A-numbers and given future immigration court dates to determine their eligibility to remain in the U.S. As there are currently no diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Venezuela, Venezuelans cannot be deported back to their home country.
The City of El Paso continues to work proactively to assist migrants on to their next destination to ensure that the health and safety of our community is maintained. This is achieved by sheltering migrants and providing food, water, and basic first aid as necessary and transportation services to their next destination.
Federal and State officials, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, State Senator Cesar Blanco, and 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, Denver, and Chicago to coordinate transportation to those cities as they are the most common destinations of choice for the migrants.
The migrants are not detainees. Once processed by the CBP, the migrants are provided documents for their next steps. The CBP will notify the City, NGO, or County to advise the community that the CBP is going to release migrants who need some support as they are not familiar with our community.
Because the migrants are not detainees, they may choose not to receive support from the City, County, or NGO. They may prefer to sleep on the street or in the park.
However, the City does not allow camping or loitering. The prevent camping or loitering the City has activated their OEM Roving Team. The team travels around the community where it is known that migrants are gathering and coordinating temporary shelter, food, water, and transportation arrangements so that they may meet up with family or sponsors in other parts of the U.S.
The City of El Paso does not provide any financial support for businesses impacted by the migrant crisis; however, the City partnered with the Better Business Bureau of El Paso to create the El Paso Business Strong program. The program offers financial and technical assistance opportunities, business resources, webinars, training programs, and more. For more information visit: www.EPBusinessStrong.org
The City of El Paso does not detain migrants as the City does not have jurisdiction over federal/immigration policy. The Federal Government via CBP apprehended migrants at the border. Once the CBP has processed the migrants according to federal procedures, they may then be cleared to be released and are free to travel within the U.S.
Locally, the CBP will conduct community releases which will connect migrants directly with the City, NGOs, and/or County officials to prevent street releases.
By coordinating community releases migrants are able to obtain temporary shelter, food, and transportation to their next or final destination. Community releases address the public safety and well-being of both residents and migrants in a humane method.
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/or family.
The City of El Paso is utilizing advanced federal funding provided through FEMA’s emergency food and shelter grant. We work closely with Congresswoman Veronica Escobar’s office, FEMA, the White House, CBP, and DHS to secure funding for the migrant crisis.
The Federal government will reimburse the City of El Paso through FEMA’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program on a quarterly basis.
Members of the community can help by volunteering their time at local NGO shelters and making monetary donations to local NGO shelters.
Please DO NOT take food or water to the migrants on the street, as that can create a public safety and health concern for both residents and migrants.
Instead, please coordinate your help and support with our community partners that are listed on our community partners’ page: https://www.elpasotexas.gov/migrant-crisis/donate/