Mcallen, TX

McAllen mayor on COVID-19 positive migrants: "We don't know what to do, at the rate they're coming"

Amy Christie

The city of McAllen is running a temporary shelter for migrants who test positive for COVID-19 in Anzalduas Park. While the initial capacity was a quarantine area for 250 people, city and county leaders have already needed to extend its capacity to 650 people.

Javier Villalobos, McAllen Mayor, is very concerned about the situation since it doesn’t seem to get any better and the city isn’t prepared to handle such a high number of COVID-19 cases and keep its own residents safe, as reported by WFAAA.

What are the details?

Anzalduas Park is removed from residents and businesses, which is one of the reasons it was chosen to serve as shelter. But as COVID-19 cases spike, capacity is stretching to breaking point.

“We're doing something that we're not equipped to do, that we're not supposed to do and that we shouldn't be doing. Very frustrated. As an elected official, we're in charge of water, sewer drainage, police protection, fire protection, not immigration,” McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos said for KENS 5 on Friday.

Sister Norma Pimentel has explained that all migrants are tested before being allowed to go inside the shelter. Those who don’t have COVID-19 are sent over to Humanitarian Respite Center or other nonprofits currently helping out. The people who were sick initially chose to stay with families but are now being brought in buses to the tent facilities set up in Anzalduas Park. All recreational activities have been cancelled at the location.

Hidalgo County officials have stated that the initial capacity was for 250 people, but they’ve already had to stretch that and make room for 650.

“We know it's going to grow. And that's a concern we have. If they keep on coming at the rate that they're coming, I, we don't know what we're going to do,” the mayor told KENS 5.

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Amy Christie is a passionate writer and journalist, always striving to bring out the positive and create meaningful connections.

Dallas, TX

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