Texas Nonprofit Says ICE Is Releasing Migrants Onto El Paso Streets As more Central Americans arrive at the border, immigration agencies are already beyond their limits. Nonprofits — like Annunciation House, a shelter organization in El Paso, Texas — is helping out.

Texas Nonprofit Says ICE Is Releasing Migrants Onto El Paso Streets

Texas Nonprofit Says ICE Is Releasing Migrants Onto El Paso Streets

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As more Central Americans arrive at the border, immigration agencies are already beyond their limits. Nonprofits — like Annunciation House, a shelter organization in El Paso, Texas — is helping out.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

As Central American families continue arriving at the southern border, pushing federal immigration authorities beyond their limits, private citizens and non-profits have been shouldering some of the responsibility. Monica Ortiz Uribe reports on the efforts of Annunciation House, a shelter organization in El Paso, Texas.

MONICA ORTIZ URIBE, BYLINE: Sunday night, shelter Director Ruben Garcia got a call from El Paso police about 200 people stranded outside a downtown bus station. They were Central American families dropped off by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE failed to give Garcia advanced warning about the release, something the agency had been doing on a regular basis since October. Without that warning, the migrants were left out in the cold, and Garcia's organization stayed up until 3 a.m. finding housing for them.

RUBEN GARCIA: There was a moment there where I was tempted to see if I could find buses and drive all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and say Merry Christmas.

ORTIZ URIBE: Why ICE failed to notify Garcia remains a mystery. The agency hasn't replied to multiple requests for comment. Immigration authorities are straining to process hundreds of families arriving daily at the southern border. In the last three months, Garcia says Annunciation House has taken in up to 2,300 families per week. As local shelters and churches reach capacity, they've turned to hotels, racking up a monthly bill of $150,000.

GARCIA: We're paying for the hotels from the spontaneous donations that people are sending to Annunciation House.

ORTIZ URIBE: Typically, the migrants stay one or two nights before traveling elsewhere in the U.S. to meet relatives. They are monitored by ICE and must appear before a severely backlogged immigration court at a future date. Most families are fleeing violence and extreme poverty.

For NPR News, I'm Monica Ortiz Uribe in El Paso.

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