The city of McAllen, Texas, said this week that, since mid-February, U.S. Customs and Border Protection released more than 7,000 illegal immigrants with confirmed COVID-19 cases into their community, including more than 1,500 new cases in just the past week.
Those astounding numbers came as the city announced Tuesday it would create a temporary emergency shelter to provide housing for the overflowing surge of migrants being released into the city by immigration enforcement agents.
The city is now asking Hidalgo County, located in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, to place a "temporary emergency shelter on property in McAllen on 23rd Street for the overwhelming number of immigrants stranded in McAllen by U.S. Customs and Border Protection," according to KVEO-TV.
A news release from McAllen officials asked the Biden administration for relief from the vast numbers of migrants being released into the city.
The current immigration surge began in 2014 under the Obama administration and has continued for seven years to the present surge the community is now experiencing …
For context, in 2020 the total number of Title 42 Expulsions on the Southwest Border was 381,928. To date in 2021, in less time, a total of 566,959 Title 42 Expulsions have occurred on the Southwest Border.
Border Patrol agents encountered more than 200,000 migrants at the southern border in July, smashing records that were nearly two decades old. During the first 29 days of July, CBP encountered an average of 6,779 individuals per day, including 616 unaccompanied children and 2,583 migrants traveling as families. Assistant Secretary for Border and Immigration Policy at the Department of Homeland Security David Shahoulian said in a court filing the agency encountered a "record" 19,000 unaccompanied minors in July, and the second-highest number of family unit encounters at nearly 80,000.
Tens of thousands of these illegal immigrants are being released by the Biden administration after detention without being given a date to appear in court for their immigration cases to be processed.
The news release noted that migrants are being released to a local Catholic charity, the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, which gives them food and housing and has provided this service for the past seven years. However, the recent surge of illegal immigration is overwhelming the charity's ability to help these people, and the matter is complicated by migrants who are sick with COVID-19.
Previously, Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley said in a statement that the migrants are tested for COVID-19 before being released. The charity pays for positive cases to be isolated with their families in hotel rooms, where they are instructed to quarantine to prevent the virus from spreading.
"Despite the City of McAllen and its community partners' best efforts, the sheer number of immigrants being released into the city has become a crisis: a crisis the City of McAllen did not create and has proactively tried to avoid for seven years," the charity told KVEO-TV.
The city of McAllen issued a local disaster declaration on Monday, triggering the mechanism for Hidalgo County and the state of Texas to provide additional resources.
Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez, who has called for the federal government to pause migrant releases, said that 16% of the migrants released into Hidalgo County are testing positive for COVID-19.
Local officials say the federal government has been unresponsive to their needs during this crisis.