By Annabell McNew
This morning, I sat in on Uvalde County Commissioners Court and City Council of Uvalde meetings where citizens addressed US Customs & Border Patrol with questions about the influx of migrants that have entered the US illegally and are going to be released in Uvalde (likely in the HEB and Walmart parking lots) on their own recognizance to await their immigration court date.
Some of the main points made were the following:
- CBP estimates approx 25-50 individuals every day to be dropped off in Uvalde, indefinitely.
- They are doing this because the facilities directly along the border are seriously overwhelmed and they have no other reasonable options. They have to get people away from the border to avoid total chaos. The number of people entering the US illegally are simply exceeding resources available to process them and manage the situation efficiently.
- CBP are focusing resources on detaining the single adults and criminal population because of the obvious higher risk and they are still stretched thin.
- They are stretched on manpower to process these people as it is, and the detention centers are maxed out and were never meant for long term holding. The court system is also backlogged, so their court dates are estimated to be 6months to a year, or more, from time of processing.
- The situation has escalated so greatly that the numbers are not only overwhelming the governmental entities, but also the non-governments organizations (non-profits, churches, volunteers, etc…) that are trying to help these people make this transition.
- These people will be vetted for criminal records and released into the public.
- They are primarily family units and unaccompanied minors, as the latter is the segment that the Del Rio Sector is specifically charged with processing. It’s been said that most of them are trying to get to the interior US and big cities (Chicago, NYC, Boston), by way of San Antonio, but obviously they can stay in Uvalde if they choose to do so.
- Generally, these people are not here seeking asylum. Those people that are seeking asylum are processed through a different path.
- They are NOT authorized to work. It is illegal to hire them to work. (*this seems ridiculous, as I’m sure it could be mutually beneficial for these people to be allowed to work)
- The CBP, City and County are doing everything they can, given the circumstances, to keep local citizens safe and manage a situation that no community could have prepared for.
The general implication here is that everyone’s hands are tied due to a lack of understanding by the Federal government that there is a crisis occurring.
This is a huge influx of people that this small, rural community is not equipped to support for any extended period of time. Even if it was reasonable to dedicate any and all resources towards these people to help feed, clothe, shelter and medically treat them, it would still not be sustainable, as the system is set up for everyone to fail. Hopefully they can find more resources in San Antonio.
These people are not legally allowed to work, so without resources, they are without options. It’s reasonable to think that good people will be forced to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do because they are trying to survive and cannot legally work to provide for their families. …and that’s probably the best case scenario.
The fact is that these non-criminal migrants are only being released because the criminal and high-risk migrants are being detained in such large quantities, they have to prioritize resources based on risk. (If there were room left at detention centers, these “migrants” would also be kept detained for entering illegally, until their immigration court date).
No one has asked for the tremendous influx of people stretching the bandwidth of our local resources past what they are equipped for. The Border Patrol is doing all that they can within the limits of their manpower, funding and equipment.
So now City and County of Uvalde will make the responsible decision, through an intralocal agreement, to fund the shuttling of these migrants to San Antonio where they will have more resources available. For 30 days, this will be an estimated cost of more than $500/day to shuttle up to 38 people, should they choose to go to San Antonio.
This is not a sustainable long term solution.
Please call your Congressmen and Legislators to express your concern. The current system is setting everyone up to fail- the local citizens, the agencies, these migrants, and the U.S., as so many of these people will be here indefinitely, the majority will not attend their court date as instructed once released, and they will never be able to legally work in this Country. That’s a shame for the country and for those migrants that truly did come here in search of a better life.
It’s all very sad.
Below is a list of government contacts you may call or write to:
President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Congressman Will Hurd – US House of Representatives
317 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225 – 4511
(202) 225 – 2237 Fax
Senator John Cornyn
517 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224 – 2934
Senator Ted Cruz
127A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224 – 5922
Governor Greg Abbott
PO Box 12428
Austin, TX 78711-2428
(512) 463 – 2000
Senator Pete Flores
PO Box 12068
Austin, TX 78711
Representative Tracy King
PO Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
(512) 463 – 0194
21st District Representative Chip Roy
(202) 225 – 4236