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Border town mayors plead for resources as Title 42 end nears

(NewsNation) — Mayors of towns along the southern U.S. border are calling on the Biden administration to provide more federal resources ahead of the end of Title 42, which is expected to result in an influx of migrants.

Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas was at the border Thursday meeting with local officials. Mayorkas has been under fire throughout his tenure from critics who contend he’s failing to keep the border secure, and some congressional Republicans have called for his impeachment.

Title 42 is a pandemic-era policy that allowed officials to turn away migrants at the border. It’s set to end May 11, and the Biden administration says it’s taking steps to handle the expected uptick.

Here’s what the mayors of some Texas border towns said are of top concern:

El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser

Leeser said the city is preparing for about 10,000 to 12,000 new migrant arrivals. He said is grateful for the 1,500 military troops being deployed to the border to help process migrants.

“Do we have the proper resources? That’s what we’re working on and we’re making sure that we will,” Leeser said. “I’m very thankful for the secretary and the president sending us additional resources. That’s one of the things we continue to ask for.”

Like Laredo, El Paso has declared a state of emergency. That will enable the city to open up emergency shelters and use federal funds.

“We’re looking at outside NGOs and other agencies that will help us staff (shelters),” Leeser said. “The city of El Paso is preparing for the unknown, and we will be ready.”

In the long term, he said legislative action is needed on immigration.

“Our immigration process is broken, and it’s been broken for a long time. Until they fix it, right now there is no end game.

Laredo Mayor Victor Treviño

Treviño signed a state of emergency ahead of the end of Title 42, a pandemic-era policy that allowed officials to turn away migrants at the border. Treviño says the city doesn’t have the financial resources to handle an expected influx of migrants.

“As a doctor I’m acting proactively to prevent us from being overcrowded,” Treviño said. “It’ll be too late when we have migrants on our streets with no resources.”

Trevino said he’s been told migrants will be sent from surrounding communities to be processed.

“The main issue is how are we going to deal with this humanitarian crisis in regards to sheltering them and having the NGOs taking them in because we’re limited in space,” Treviño said. “The city cannot pay for these resources. We have a limited budget.”

McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos

Villalobos met with Mayorkas on Thursday during his visit.

“We’re very happy anytime we have somebody from the federal or state level to come down and see some of the issues we have. We’re glad to have him here,” Villalobos said. “We’re going to greet him with the respect he deserves.”

Villalobos got some encouraging news during the visit.

“If we’re going to assist the federal government … we need funding. Pleasantly, he did inform us that there was going to be funding available to at least our municipality when we talked about it,” Villalobos said. “Previous to these past few years, the city of McAllen has to spend quite a bit of money, municipal funds, when it shouldn’t have to.”

Unlike other border town including Laredo and El Paso, McAllen has not issued a state of emergency. Villalobos said that could change once Title 42 is lifted.

“It just takes a pen stroke,” he said. “Once we feel that we have to do it, and I’m pretty certain we will, we’ll do it.”