With Title 42 set to end in just days, El Paso’s Democrat Mayor Oscar Leeser declared a state of emergency Saturday. The city has already seen a massive surge in illegal immigration since August, and at this point Mayor Leeser says the city isn’t safe — for illegal immigrants, at least. That will only worsen when the number of people apprehended for crossing illegally goes from 2,500 a day to “4,000, 5,000, maybe 6,000,” and with the emergency declaration the city will be eligible for the additional funding it will need to address the humanitarian needs during an extreme cold snap.
Leeser held a press conference Thursday in which he said he wasn’t declaring the state of emergency just yet, but that he would if he felt the city wasn’t safe for either “asylum seekers” or residents. His reasoning for not doing so was almost entirely political, though. He said he’d been able to get the needed funds without declaring a state of emergency, and that he “doesn’t want Republican Gov. Greg Abbott to be involved in how El Paso handles the situation.” According to the New York Post, Leeser has previously admitted that the White House asked him to not declare a state of emergency, which didn’t sit well with City Council member Claudia Rodriguez. She told the New York Post:
“There is no logical reason for him not to declare an emergency other than El Paso is the sixth largest city in the states of Texas and if El Paso declares an emergency, then that means that the border is not secure and there’s something bigger going on and the whole narrative of a ‘secure border’ falls apart.”
And, Rodriguez said that Leeser said of Abbott:
“He has told me himself that the governor is very difficult to work with and that he’s going to come into El Paso and militarize the entire operation.”
During the press conference another City Council member, Isabel Salcido, said:
“I still urge the mayor… I know it’s to his discretion, but I still urge [him] to declare an emergency.”
After Leeser said that an emergency declaration wouldn’t expedite getting funding to the city, the Deputy City Manager disagreed, saying:
“That declaration allows the state to open additional funding outside of their normal budget,”
Leeser then abruptly ended the press conference. His tune changed by Saturday, obviously.
The mayor of the Texas border city of El Paso declared a state of emergency, citing the hundreds of migrants sleeping on the streets in cold temperatures and the thousands being apprehended every day https://t.co/MT7B12MDPR pic.twitter.com/gYzw8yX2LY
— Reuters (@Reuters) December 18, 2022
“As we see the increase in asylum seekers into our community and we see the temperatures dropping and we know that Title 42 looks like it’s gonna be called back on Wednesday, we felt that it was the proper time today to call a state of emergency.
“I said from the beginning that I would call it when I felt that either our asylum seekers or our community were not safe, and I really believe that today our asylum seekers are not safe, as we have hundreds and hundreds on the streets, and that’s not the way we want to treat people. And by calling a state of emergency it gives us the ability today to be able to do things we couldn’t do until we called it, and that’s our shelters and put people in shelters and make sure they’re safe.”
Leeser is one of the many Democrat elected officials suddenly concerned about a crisis at the border and putting their hand out asking for funding – California’s Gavin Newsom prime among them.