On Sept. 12, the El Paso City Council ratified a services contract with Gogo Charters LLC for transporting illegal immigrants. The company has already received $411,000 from the city, Border Report said, citing a presentation to the council. Over 550 illegal immigrants who were released from the custody of federal immigration have been bused out of El Paso. Buses from Sun Metro, the public transportation provider of El Paso, have been transporting illegal immigrants to bus stations, the city’s airport, and shelters.
El Paso City Manager Tony Gonzalez called the immigrant situation an “emergency” and highlighted that the city does not have money set aside to deal with these “particular circumstances.”
Speaking before the council, Gonzalez made it clear that the $2 million only allows them to spend funds for using the services provided by Gogo Charters.
Last month, Mario D’Agostino, the deputy city manager of El Paso, stated that the city receives reimbursement from the federal government for the money it spends on transporting illegal immigrants to other places.
The task of transporting illegal immigrants is carried out by the city’s Office of Emergency Management. In a statement obtained by El Paso Matters, D’Agostino said that such expenses are reimbursable through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. However, the reimbursements can take up to six months.
Responding to Federal Actions
Laura Cruz Acosta, City’s Strategic Communications Director. in an emailed statement to The Epoch Times said that El Paso administrators are striving to provide “a humane response” to the crisis even as the “federal government continues to release hundreds of migrants on City streets on a daily basis.”
After processing the illegal immigrants at the city’s Migrant Welcome Center, they were provided with food, water, basic healthcare services, communications services, shelter and transportation. “As of Friday afternoon, OEM has sponsored a total of 54 charter buses (51 to New York City and 3 to Chicago) since Aug. 23, 2022. The destinations are the preferred destination for those without any means to travel,” Acosta said.
The travel costs to transport illegals are being covered through FEMA’s emergency food and shelter grant on a reimbursement basis, and since the end of last month, El Paso has spent over $800,000 in transportation alone, according to Acosta. The contract with Gogo Charters are for 16 months.
“This is not a political issue; this is a humanitarian issue that has become a local crisis for our community.”
Rising Alien Numbers
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has seen a massive jump in illegal immigrants trying to get into the United States via the El Paso border sector.
According to the latest data from the agency, border officials at El Paso encountered 228,951 illegal immigrants in the 2022 fiscal year until July, which is a 46.9 percent increase from the 155,883 encounters during the same period in the 2021 fiscal year.
There was a 50.7 percent jump in single adult illegal immigrants and a 12.9 percent increase in unaccompanied minors in this period.
The increased influx of illegal immigrants has turned the city into something resembling a “third-world country,” Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) told the New York Post.
Since local shelters are at capacity, many illegal immigrants now sleep on the streets, with little access to bathrooms. Residents of El Paso told ABC 7 that the smell of human waste has now become overwhelming.
In a Sept. 15 Twitter post, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott stated that two buses of illegal immigrants have been sent to the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C.
“VP [Kamala] Harris claims our border is ‘secure’ & denies the crisis. We’re sending migrants to her backyard to call on the Biden Administration to do its job & secure the border,” he said.