EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Members of the Texas State Guard remain in El Paso but are no longer staged at a community center in the South Side.
On Monday, the Texas State Guard could be seen assisting at the building that houses the Border Farmworkers Center, from where migrants had been bused to New York the week prior. Another group of migrants was supposed to be bused to Chicago on Monday, but that trip was canceled because not enough people wanted to go there.
The El Paso City-County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) held a news conference on Tuesday to address the busing of migrants out of El Paso and the presence of the state troops.
An OEM official explained that they reached out to the state for assistance.
“We reached out to our state partners to see if this was an operation they could support. The state offered assistance with charters and we accepted under the condition that OEM would continue to coordinate the effort between CBP, our local NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and the NGOs in the arriving (city),” said Jorge Rodriguez with OEM. “At no time was this operation ever handed over to the state.”
Deputy City Manager Mario D’Agostino says the state troops are still staged in El Paso as a resource, adding that the communication with the state was about a large number of migrants at the Border Patrol’s central processing center and transportation efforts.
“We talked about them, saying they (CBP) were going to be releasing family units into the streets. We talked to the state about doing charters and we did ask for what support is there as far as in transportation efforts. That doesn’t mean the state supported travels or to the state system that they’re doing,” D’Agostino said.
However, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said the plan to bring in the state happened outside of the weekly meetings with immigration agencies and the area’s congressional delegation.
“I don’t like the idea of, ‘We don’t want them in our streets but let’s put them in somebody else’s street,” Samaniego said.
OEM said the New York City Emergency Management agency was notified, but Samaniego says he received a call from the New York attorney general regarding the arrival of migrants from El Paso, asking how many were going to be coming.
“I felt a little embarrassed that we had not coordinated with her,” Samaniego said.
Samaniego added that the state troops could be utilized in other ways.
“I would welcome the National Guard in a coordinated matter. They don’t have anything to do with who’s going where; they’re just simply helping the process. I would be OK with that but a crisis using state buses and just sort of shipping them off to New York or Washington is not the right thing to do,” Samaniego said.