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The Democratic mayor of El Paso, Texas says the city has reached “a breaking point” with floods of migrants coming in every day and said the city chartered five buses to take migrants to New York, Chicago, and Denver over the weekend.
El Paso is seeing more than 2,000 migrants per day, pushing the border city’s shelters and resources past capacity. The new migrants are reportedly mostly Venezuelans.
“The city of El Paso only has so many resources and we have come to … a breaking point right now,” Mayor Oscar Leeser, a Democrat, said at a press conference on Saturday.
El Paso chartered five buses to send migrants to New York, Chicago, and Denver on Saturday, Leeser said.
Previously, the Republican governors of Texas and Florida who sent migrants to blue cities were skewered by Democrats, who accused them of “playing politics with people’s lives.”
However, El Paso’s mayor said the migrants his city put on buses were traveling voluntarily to the cities of their choice.
The migrant crisis at the border has been ramping up in recent weeks.
In August, there were nearly 233,000 migrant encounters at the southern border, the highest August on record, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said. That number marks a jump from under 184,000 encounters in July.
Last month’s numbers are also a significant rise from August a year ago, when there were only 204,000 migrant encounters. September’s numbers are already tens of thousands of encounters higher than last year as well.
Meanwhile, several major cities, particularly New York and Chicago, have been struggling with a migrant crisis as tens of thousands of newcomers show up on their doorstep.
New York City is struggling to metabolize more than 113,000 migrants who have shown up in the city since last spring, nearly 60,000 of whom are still being housed on the city’s dime.
The city has already spent more than $1.2 billion on the migrants and is projected to spend up to $5 billion.
The situation has sparked tension between New York’s Democratic leaders and the Biden administration, with the governor and mayor calling for more federal help with the migrant crisis.
Biden’s Department of Homeland Security has since given New York City $140 million in federal funding to address the migrant crisis, but Mayor Eric Adams has said it would take more aid to get the situation under control.
Chicago is also facing a migrant crisis and is struggling to find long-term solutions. The country’s third-largest city has seen an influx of about 13,500 migrants recently and has already spent at least $250 million on the issue.
Mayor Brandon Johnson detailed his plan for massive migrant tents earlier this month.
Last week, Chicago officials inked a $29.4 million deal with with a private security firm to build, staff, and operate the huge tents, which must be able to house between 250 and 1,400 migrants.
The federal government has already given Chicago and Illinois at least $8.5 million for the migrant crisis.
In Denver, migrants have also arrived by the hundreds in recent weeks. Denver has spent at least $23 million on recent migrant arrivals.