Just days after ICE agents dropped close to 200 migrants at a bus stop in El Paso with no plan for where they would eat or sleep, the agency is leaving another 522 migrants at various sites around the city — though this time with a more solid plan for their care.
On December 23, the federal agency unexpectedly left nearly 200 migrants at a Greyhound bus station downtown, generating a significant backlash and calls for immediate reform from non-profit groups that help these migrants. As CNN reported, the agency heeded the advice and on Wednesday left more than 500 migrants at “hospitality sites” around the city where charity groups had arranged to care for them.
“No one is going be released on the streets,” said Ruben Garcia, head of the city’s Annunciation House, a group that works with migrant families. “It is a planned and orderly release to specific hospitality sites that are ready to receive them.”
The incident earlier in the week had left hundreds of migrants cramped into a small bus station, leading many to spill over outside into the cold. As a company spokesperson said, the move came without warning.
“All of a sudden a bunch of people show up; ICE drops them off,” Greyhound spokeswoman Crystal Booker said. “We weren’t expecting it. We (were) not given prior notice.”
Greyhound helped to provide goods and shelter, even bringing in a bus where they could sleep and stay warm.
Local residents said they had never known ICE to leave migrants without adequate food or shelter, or even arrangements to help them find care. The change appears to be politically motivated. In a statement to CNN, ICE blamed “decades of inaction by Congress” with handcuffing the agency.
Federal agencies have come under intense scrutiny for their treatment of migrants, starting with Donald Trump’s newly instituted policy to separate migrant children from their parents and place them into detention centers. The Trump administration has been criticized for failing to properly care for children placed into federal custody, with no real plan for how they would be reunited with their families and what critics see as inadequate and inhumane care.
Within the last three weeks, two immigrant children have died while in federal custody, both after suddenly falling ill. That has led to criticism over the medical care provided to families who have crossed the U.S. border and prompted immediate changes about the screenings given to these children.
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