EAGLE PASS, Texas – The nonprofit organization Mission: Border Hope in Eagle Pass is working closely with U.S. Border Patrol to help asylum seekers who are being released after they’ve been processed.
“Some days, we are full of people, like full of people. But of course, it’s a lot of family units, people with children, pregnant moms,” said Valeria Wheeler, executive director of Mission: Border Hope.
Wheeler said the organization offers people showers, meals and a place to stay.
“We’re receiving only families from Border Patrol. That means that they cross the river. But we’ve talked with Customs, and we will start receiving families from the bridge,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler said the nonprofit helps an average of 50 people a day.
“They bring these asylum seekers to us, so they are not roaming the streets, so they are not by themselves,” Wheeler said.
The mayor of Eagle Pass said the increase of asylum seekers and migrants is putting a significant strain on Border Patrol agents.
“Over 200 individuals they are catching illegally, crossing illegally. And so, the government’s got to put their foot down,” Wheeler said.
More than 100,000 people were apprehended on the southwest border in February, according to Customs and Border Protection.
“They’re being released to the NGO (non-governmental organization), which is Mission: Border Hope, and they’re doing a great job in trying to facilitate and expedite their transfer from our community of Eagle Pass to other camps, other cities, where they can go out to wherever their family and other acquaintances maybe,” said Luis Sifuentes, mayor of Eagle Pass.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it is constructing a facility to hold migrants who cross the border in Eagle Pass.
CBP released the following statement:
“CBP is currently constructing a soft sided facility in Eagle Pass, TX to help accommodate migrants in our custody. There have always been fluctuations in the number of individuals we encounter at the border, and we continue to adapt accordingly. Since April 2020, CBP has seen an increase in border encounters from the Western Hemisphere due to worsening economic conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters impacting the area. Based on past experience, evaluation of operational requirements, and challenges due to COVID-19 space restrictions, we need additional processing facilities when we see rising numbers of encounters. As we work to build and improve permanent facilities for the safe and orderly processing of individuals at the border, temporary soft-sided facilities are sometimes necessary to meet operational needs that may arise due to rising encounters, particularly under challenging circumstances.”