The Biden administration’s permissive immigration policies have contributed to a record number of illegal border crossings, which has left officials in communities along the U.S.-Mexico border scrambling for an appropriate response.
Making matters worse, a pandemic-related order allowing asylum seekers to be expelled for public health reasons is scheduled to expire next week.
As increasingly desperate authorities in El Paso, Texas, deal with the arrival of thousands of undocumented immigrants on a daily basis, they are now calling on the federal government to allow them to use military bases to house migrants.
Without such a remedy, officials are concerned that the situation will further devolve. As it stands, reports indicate that a growing number of migrants have resorted to sleeping on the streets of El Paso.
As Deputy City Manager Mario D’Agostino explained, providing access to military bases is not unprecedented. Just last year, a number of refugees from Afghanistan were allowed to temporarily reside in such facilities following the Biden administration’s military withdrawal from that country.
He noted that the current situation “is a true emergency for the community” and “a federal crisis that’s happening in the border of El Paso” that requires intervention at the highest level.
“With that, they’re going to need to do some federal operation, maybe like what we saw with the Afghans,” D’Agostino added.
As of the latest reports available, however, the Department of Homeland Security has not formally submitted a request to the Pentagon to allow bases to be used for this purpose.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who is facing increased pressure to resign ahead of a likely impeachment process when Republicans regain control of the House of Representatives next year, recently visited El Paso to observe the situation firsthand.
His remarks were not enough to assuage the anger and fear of many locals dealing with the impact of an ongoing migrant surge.
Carmen Wilburn, who shares a home with her elderly father, said she is concerned about her family’s safety.
“This has never happened before,” she said. “Never. I feel very unsafe and not secure at all here.”
Wilburn added that undocumented immigrants “can hide in the bushes” near her home, explaining that she no longer feels comfortable allowing her granddaughter to stay with her.