More than 1,600 mi­grants put on to streets in El Paso

The Guardian Weekly - - Global report -

The US gov­ern­ment re­leased more than 1,600 mi­grants on to the streets of El Paso, Texas, last week, over­whelm­ing aid agen­cies that have scram­bled to find shel­ter for fam­i­lies.

Ad­vo­cacy groups said the mass re­lease was “un­prece­dented”, as vol­un­teers turned out in droves to bring food, wa­ter and medicine to mi­grants stranded in the bor­der city.

“It is un­ac­cept­able to re­lease fam­i­lies with chil­dren, some of them very young chil­dren, to the street,” said Ruben Gar­cia, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of An­nun­ci­a­tion House, El Paso’s largest mi­grant shel­ter op­er­a­tor.

The chaos be­gan last month, when 214 peo­ple, all fam­i­lies, were re­leased with­out the usual warn­ing given by Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment (Ice) to An­nun­ci­a­tion House, Gar­cia said. Vol­un­teers worked un­til at least 2am or 3am try­ing to find shel­ter, Gar­cia said.

Hun­dreds of peo­ple were then re­leased on Christ­mas Eve, Christ­mas Day and last Thurs­day.

Gar­cia said An­nun­ci­a­tion House and its part­ners have pro­vided space to about 2,200 peo­ple a week, and are hop­ing to ex­pand to at least 3,000 beds a week.

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