McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — The Department of Homeland Security is releasing fewer than 300 migrants per day currently, far lower than in July when upwards of 2,000 migrants — mostly families — were being released daily in the South Texas town of McAllen, according to the city’s latest Emergency Management Report.
Between Nov. 4-10, the drop-off count ranged from 76 migrants to 262 per day, according to the report that is to be presented at a city council meeting on Monday night.
All migrants who are apprehended in the area and not remanded back to Mexico or to their homelands are dropped off by DHS officials at Anzalduas Park, in Mission, Texas, where they are tested for coronavirus before local officials allow them into the community.
The report said as of Nov. 12, Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley (CCRGV) was caring for 200 migrants quarantined at the park, which is located several miles away from downtown McAllen, and an additional 200 migrants quarantined elsewhere “throughout the area” and who were “awaiting medical clearance to depart,” according to the report.
Not all individuals in quarantine have tested positive for the virus. If one family member does then the rest of the family is placed in quarantine as a preventative measure “even if some of those individuals had tested negative,” the report said.
CCRGV operates the Humanitarian Respite Center, which is the region’s largest migrant center and is located in downtown McAllen across from the city’s bus station.
Migrants who show proof of a negative COVID-19 test are admitted into the Respite Center, where they receive free food, clothing, hygiene items, and help to make travel plans elsewhere in the country.
Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of CCRGV, on Monday told Border Report that currently, the center is receiving between 150 and 250 migrants daily.
That’s down significantly from a high of nearly 2,000 migrants released into downtown McAllen in late July and early August.
At that time, the Hidalgo County judge declared a local state of emergency to try to stem the flow of migrants being released.
Since February 18, 2021, federal officials have dropped off 132,081 migrants, with 12,541 of them testing positive for COVID-19 — an overall positivity rate of approximately 9.5%, the city’s report said.
To date, the City of McAllen has spent $104,058 on migrant care expenditures. An additional $5.1 million has been paid by federal funds to care for the migrants in McAllen, according to Monday’s report.
And although the numbers are decreasing, city officials remain alert that the situation could suddenly change.
“Discussions with local, state, federal, and private entities continue in relation to items which may cause increased drop-offs, and which could prompt the need for potential alternate sites to be used to house individuals awaiting northbound transportation, as well as on the potential for federal agencies to move some of these individuals to locations other than McAllen,” the report said.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.