ICE dumps 200 migrants at El Paso bus station, leaving them in the cold with no money or shelter
According to Newsweek, over 200 asylum seekers were dropped off at a bus station in El Paso, Texas on Sunday night. Many of them were without money, food, and most did not speak English, making them incapable of communicating with those who worked at the bus station.
Newsweek reported that dropping immigrants off at bus stations is routine, but the number is so large because of the government shutdown over funding for Donald Trump’s border wall project. In addition to being dropped off abruptly with no money and food, the asylum seekers were fitted with ankle monitors and given court dates.
Anunciation House, a religious organization in El Paso that houses migrants dropped off in the city with nowhere else to go, is currently at full capacity but is attempting to lodge the migrants in El Paso area schools and hotels. El Paso Congressional Representative Beto O’Rourke solicited donations to the organization on Twitter, and announced that he had been in contact with local ICE officials in an attempt to create better conditions for the migrants: “I have also spoken with ICE, Customs & Border Protection, El Paso Office of Emergency Management and incoming Congresswoman Veronica Escobar to see how we can better coordinate releases.”
Hundreds of migrant families released onto the streets of El Paso on Christmas Eve, without food, money or help. ICE says more will be released tomorrow and following day. If you would like to help – please donate to migrant shelter Annunciation House: https://t.co/062olxpA6Z
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) December 24, 2018
Usually, Anunciation House gets bulletins daily that let the organization know how many immigrants will be dropped off at a Greyhound bus station so that they can design housing and charity work around a set number. Recently, there has been a lack of communication from ICE, which has left the organization scrambling to deal with such a large influx of people. Greyhound is also feeling the effects of this arrangement, with Greyhound spokeswoman Crystal Booker telling CNN, “All of a sudden a bunch of people show up; ICE drops them off. We weren’t expecting it. We are not given prior notice.”
Even the El Paso Police Department is not exactly thrilled with the way ICE is handling the immigrants. Seargent Robert Gomez, El Paso Police Department spokesperson, told CNN, “We weren’t going to put 200 people on the streets of El Paso on a cold night. We wouldn’t do that.”
Over the past 4 days, 800 total migrants were dropped off in El Paso, according to NPR. O’Rouke recently told Texas Monthy, “ICE admitted that they dropped the ball, that they made a mistake yesterday by not giving the community any kind of heads-up… They said that they would give us a heads-up going forward although they promised to do that before.”
O’Rourke’s successor in Congress, Representative-elect Veronica Escobar, who takes office in January, compared the lack of resources to house migrants to a nearby child prison in Tornillo. “There’s absolutely no reason why those temporary holding facilities cannot be set up once again, no reason,” Escobar told Texas Monthy. “The blueprint exists and frankly the money obviously exists because the Tornillo child prison seems to get a blank check. So there’s money there. I don’t understand why federal law enforcement has failed to use this solution that worked so well in 2016.”