Texas sends buses with dozens of immigrants to New York, Chicago

El Paso, Texas, Dec 20 (EFE).- Dozens of immigrants boarded buses on the Texas-Mexico border and were sent to Chicago and New York on Monday night, hours after the US Supreme Court ordered the controversial health-based immigration policy known as Title 42 to remain in force, although the Joe Biden administration had intended to terminate it.

The City Hall in the Texas border city of El Paso, across the Rio Grande from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, announced that it will maintain the state of emergency declared by the mayor prior to what was expected to be the end of Title 42, which allows US authorities to expel the majority of immigrants who enter the US illegally by land.

Mayor Oscar Leeser said at a Monday press conference after the high court’s decision became known that city officials will continue to act as if Title 42 had been eliminated.

Local and federal authorities have been expecting that the suspension of the regulation, which was implemented by the Donald Trump administration and has been kept in place by Biden, will result in an increase in the number of illegal migrants arriving in border cities.

As night fell in El Paso, outside the shelter at the El Sagrado Corazon church in the southwestern part of the city, a man and a woman apparently working with the Texas state Emergency Management Office began offering immigrants a free bus ride to New York or Chicago, EFE learned.

Since April of this year, Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has been sending dozens of buses carrying immigrants to northern cities with the aim of putting pressure on Biden to tighten immigration policies.

People who cannot find room at the Jesuit shelter, which has a capacity of about 150 people, listened closely to the conditions of the trip explained to them by the two officials.

According to what the woman told them, only people with US-issued immigration papers could board the buses, that is people who turned themselves over to the US Border Patrol upon crossing the frontier and not migrants who managed to get across the border without being detected by US authorities.

Discouraged, many of the listeners moved away from the pair of officials after hearing the travel conditions.

“We can’t get on (the buses). They can deport us,” one of the immigrants who did not want to be identified told EFE. With his head down, he crossed to the other side of the street, where he spent the night sleeping outdoors in temperatures that got down as low as 8 C (46 F).

The man said he was 22 and had traveled through some 16 countries to get to the US. He left Venezuela three years ago and lived for a time in Ecuador and Chile, but he decided to come to the US to be better able to economically help out his family.

Although he is in the US now, he said that his final destination is Canada because he said he had read that that country provides better support to immigrants.

“I want to make a little money here and continue on,” he told EFE, wearing a black cap and carrying a pink suitcase with a princess design on it. Almost everything he owned, he said, had been given to him quite recently because a group of people robbed him of all his belongings in Ciudad Juarez.

Father Rafael Garcia, who manages the shelter, said that besides providing a place to sleep, transportation is another main need that migrants have once they get to El Paso.

“There’s great need among many people who have no way to get to wherever others are going to welcome them,” said Garcia, who has lived in El Paso since 2016.

A bus ticket to Denver or Los Angeles, two of the biggest cities west of El Paso, costs between $90 and $95.

The Supreme Court should decide in the coming days whether Title 42 will remain in force or not while a lower court is reviewing the case.

Since it entered into force in 2020, the rule has enabled the US to expel more than 2.7 million migrants in an accelerated manner, according to figures compiled by the International Rescue Committee.



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