A sudden jump in migrants in El Paso, Texas, who are seeking asylum is straining local resources. More than 2,000 people are arriving at the border a day to be processed – among them, a group who says they were held by armed kidnappers along the way and held in a warehouse.
Ingrid Lopez was among the group who traveled over 18 days and more than 2,200 miles to El Paso. Without work, and fleeing political persecution, she and her husband made the arduous trek with their daughter Emilie to offer the 13-year-old a safe life.
“I become emotional thinking of the sacrifices since we’ve left our country … everything we went through…” she told CBS News, crying.
After crossing several borders, they boarded a bus in Mexico with about 40 others. But instead of freedom, they said the bus drivers delivered them and hundreds of others into the hands of armed kidnappers.
They were locked in a warehouse for days with little food, and were threatened. They managed to escape by breaking down doors and running to a neighboring town for help.
Once they arrived in El Paso, they faced a new problem. With shelters at capacity, Lopez and her family slept on the floors at the immigration processing center. They were finally released and went to a shelter where they are waiting to go to Baltimore for their asylum hearing.
With local shelters at capacity, however, other migrants await those next steps on the streets, in the cold.
With more migrants crossing over in record numbers, El Paso has already spent $9.5 million this year providing services to migrants, according to El Paso City Manager Tommy Gonzalez. But millions more are needed to shelter, direct and transport migrants arriving there.
The City of El Paso is expected to receive $6 million from FEMA for expenses needed to manage the crisis. Local officials also hope the federal government will open Fort Bliss as a shelter for migrants, which will be desperately needed if Title 42 is lifted.
“All hands need to be on deck. Let’s keep the migrant needs in mind,” Gonzalez said. “They’re not a project, they’re people.”