El Paso, TX

A Texas Mayor is Taking a Risk Funding the Migrants Entering its City

Tom Handy

Migrants in El PasoScreenshot from Twitter

By now, you have heard about the migrants entering in large numbers into El Paso. What you haven’t heard from public officials is not always 100% correct. Sometimes you need to read between the lines or do some research on your own.

Recently, El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser said the city will request funds to reimburse itself for the fees paid to house, feed, and transport migrants. El Paso is just one city that is dealing with migrants. Other border cities are doing the same and the request for money comes from the same pot of money though El Paso could use COVID funds.

So, it is a game of chess to ensure the city gets refunded for these unplanned costs.

El Paso City Council representative Cassandra Hernandez said:

“I agree with you representative Salcido we need to have conversations about outsourcing these programs and these operations because it is unfair that you utilize all of your resources in one department which is the Office of Emergency Management in the event of another emergency what is our failsafe what plan do you have if there is another dramatic event.”

Mayor Leeser has mentioned that migrants were not staying in El Paso but moving on to other locations. But the city is paying for their transportation and other essential services such as housing, food, and medical treatments.

City staff is working overtime handling migrants

Recently, city staff including police and fire department personnel have worked to manage the migrants which are reaching about 1,000 people a day crossing into El Paso. Some people have commented that outsourcing may be possible.

City Manager Tommy Gonzalez said this may not be possible since it may not be reimbursable.

“The reason why the outsourcing is a concern is because of being able to recover all of those dollars that may not be considered reimbursable so I just want to be clear about that.”

Then the city has spent $3.5 million this year on migrants and of that, $3.4 million was spent in September alone.

And, residents may foot the bill for more expenses. El Paso has allocated $6 million for charter bus services and only $800,000 is reimbursable by FEMA.

The city currently has the second highest property tax in the country behind Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

With three months left in the year, it will be interesting to see how El Paso handles the growing monetary issue.

What do you think El Paso should do in regard to its current spending bill?

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