EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14) — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has reportedly released a large group of migrants at a bus station in downtown El Paso.
“ICE admitted that they made a mistake yesterday by not giving the community any kind of heads up by releasing 214 migrants at the Greyhound bus station last night and early this morning,” U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke said.
Approximately 200 immigrants were released throughout the day on Christmas Eve. That’s in addition to the 214 that were released the night before.
O'Rourke tweeted that 200 migrants would be released on Christmas Day and over 500 migrants would be released on Wednesday.
“We’re a little perplexed because this is not something typically that ice does,” said Dylan Corbett, director of Hope Border Institute.
Corbett said the federal agency usually communicates with Annunciation House, a nonprofit shelter, so that it's prepared for the large intake.
“Our challenge is that ICE has so far been unable to give us enough of a heads-up to have those beds ready so we don’t have migrants standing at a park, or in a parking lot or at a bus station,” O’Rourke said.
According to U.S. Rep.-elect Veronica Escobar, another group of migrants, possibly numbering 200 or more, could be dropped off Christmas Day.
Escobar released the following statement:
The lack of community coordination by ICE, which first occurred in October, and again last night and today, demonstrates a reckless disregard for very vulnerable people, including children. It is unacceptable.
Federal law enforcement officials in El Paso have long worked closely with Annunciation House, an El Paso non-profit that offers hospitality to immigrants. This collaboration ensures that migrants who have been processed by ICE do not end up on the streets of El Paso, homeless, hungry and without support.
The federal government has an obligation to provide humane, temporary holding facilities for these migrants in their custody until they can be accepted by NGOs like Annunciation House. Quickly ridding themselves of those in their custody is not a solution. In fact, it puts adults and children at grave risk, and creates a crisis in our community.
Most migrants are from Honduras and Guatemala.
ICE released 214 migrants at that same location Sunday night, which has left El Paso’s Office of Emergency Management left scrambling two days in a row.
Volunteers are at the bus station trying to help by donating food and other items.
Sun Metro and El Paso police were working to bus the migrants to another location Sunday, but they have not announced where that location will be.
ICE released the following statement:
After decades of inaction by Congress, the government remains severely constrained in its ability to detain and promptly remove families with no legal basis to remain in the U.S. To mitigate the risk of holding family units past the timeframe allotted to the government, ICE has curtailed reviews of post-release plans from families apprehended along the southwest border. ICE continues to work with local and state officials and NGO partners in the area so they are prepared to provide assistance with transportation or other services.
O'Rourke showed up to the area to volunteer and is asking ICE to give a 24-hour notice for community shelters to be able to organize.
"We just need a little bit of a heads up so that folks aren’t as you see behind me literally dumped at a bus station without money or on the street," O'Rourke said.
O'Rourke said that ICE officials have promised to give at least 24 hours notice to local nonprofits so they can take in the released immigrants.
If you would like to donate click here.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.