El Paso mayor says city’s goal is to help bus migrants to their destinations, treat them like human beings

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The border city of El Paso, Texas, is helping thousands of migrants who arrive daily without sponsors or money reach their destinations in America, the city’s mayor said Sunday.

El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser appeared on ABC’s “This Week” to discuss the influx of migrants arriving in the border city and why officials there are helping them board buses to other destinations.

“The people are not coming to El Paso, they’re coming to America,” Leeser said.

More than 1,000 migrants have been arriving in El Paso daily, according to the outlet. Leeser said that as many as 2,000 arrived on Friday.

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Leeser said that officials speak with arriving migrants, learn what their destinations are, and help them get there.

Migrants gather to received donated clothes near a bus station after being released from U.S. Border Patrol custody in El Paso, Texas, U.S., Sept. 17, 2022.

Migrants gather to received donated clothes near a bus station after being released from U.S. Border Patrol custody in El Paso, Texas, U.S., Sept. 17, 2022. (Reuters/Jose Luis Gonzalez)

“We put human beings on buses with food and make sure they get to their destination and make sure that we always continue to treat people like human beings,” Leeser said.

The city has sent at least 1,135 migrants on 28 buses to New York since Aug. 23 and, like Arizona, shares passenger rosters and other information.

Asylum-seeking migrants, mostly from Venezuela, walk near the border wall after crossing the Rio Bravo to turn themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol agents to request asylum in El Paso, Texas, U.S., as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Sept. 17, 2022. 

Asylum-seeking migrants, mostly from Venezuela, walk near the border wall after crossing the Rio Bravo to turn themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol agents to request asylum in El Paso, Texas, U.S., as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Sept. 17, 2022.  (Reuters/Jose Luis Gonzalez)

He said that one recent difference with the migrants arriving in El Paso is that many of those from Venezuela do not have sponsors in the U.S. who can help them and have no money.

“We have about 50% of the people today that do not have a sponsor, they do not have money, so we’re helping and working to get them to where they want to go,” the mayor said.

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Leeser also said that all migrants who arrive in the city are given food and place to stay so that they don’t end up homeless on the city’s streets.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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