As freezing temperatures from coast-to-coast winter storms reached El Paso, Texas, some migrants who did not turn themselves in to border agents or officials after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border were struggling to find shelter.
El Paso is in the midst of a declared state of emergency where thousands of migrants are living in unsafe conditions because of former President Donald Trump-era border policies that kept migrants out, and court proceedings are still ongoing keep changing.
Laura Cruz Acosta, a spokeswoman for the city of El Paso, said the city had opened government-run shelters at its convention center, hotels and several vacant schools, but could not accept the absence of customs and Immigration on Border Protection documents.
The city must abide by state and federal policies, which she said require immigrants to have documentation to obtain asylum in government-run facilities.
If undocumented immigrants show up at a government-run facility, they contact Customs and Border Protection to initiate a surrender, or contact a local NGO-run shelter, she said.
With dangerously low temperatures this week, U.S. border officials are warning migrants trying to enter the country to watch out for severe weather.
“Extremely cold, sub-zero temperatures are expected at the border between Mexico and the United States in the coming days,” Acting Deputy Chief of Border Patrol Operations Hugo Carmona said in a video statement. “Do not risk yourself and your loved ones. The lives of those trying to cross a river or desert are in danger. Help avoid human death and tragedy by staying home or in a safe shelter. This is an extremely important warning.”
read more Gentlemen And watch how immigrants cope with subfreezing temperatures in the video below: