Thousands of migrants cross the U.S.-Mexico border and enter Hidalgo County, Texas each day. Upon arrival in the U.S., the tidal wave of illegal immigrants receive a slew of benefits subsidized by the federal government: housing, food, education, vocational training, education, recreation, and legal counsel. But the immigrants are also receiving services funded by Hidalgo County.
In just two weeks, since June 13, the migrants have cost the county about $68,000, according to The Monitor. McAllen City Attorney Kevin Pagan told the newspaper, “We set up a special account to capture the costs associated with this unbudgeted item.”
The county currently pays for transportation (gas and bus drivers) for the migrants, many of whom are dropped off at Catholic Charities. The migrants then enjoy a hot shower in mobile restrooms that are funded by the city and county. The Monitor reported that such “sophisticated” restrooms are fully powered and lit using a generator owned by McAllen, a city in the county.
At this point, it is unclear if Hidalgo or McAllen will be reimbursed for any unanticipated costs to accommodate the illegal immigrants.
“We’re hoping, because the taxpayers in McAllen did not anticipate or create this problem, that at some point the other levels of government would hopefully reimburse us for that,” Pagan reportedly said. If the costs continue, the city may have to pull from its reserve funds.
Several Texas politicians have spoken out about funding the border crisis.
The state’s attorney general, Greg Abbott, recently said, “We do have ongoing efforts, and I’m part of those efforts, to ensure that we get reimbursement from the federal government to get any money that the State of Texas comes out of pocket.”
Many have also argued that the federal government has not provided law enforcement with adequate funding or resources to deal with the border crisis.
During a recent visit to Hidalgo County, Texas Governor Rick Perry said that Border Patrol agents do “not have the resources … to do their jobs. This is an orchestrated effort that the cartels are involved with. Putting these young individuals in harms way to further their interests. And our government has got to step in.”
“I am incredibly disappointed that we have not seen more of Washington, D.C. leadership in the Valley to see what’s going on down here,” Perry continued. “This is an absolute humanitarian catastrophe waiting to happen, and I do not understand why there has not been more interest in Washington, D.C. to secure the southern border with Mexico and the United States. And this is not just a Texas problem.”
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.