MCALLEN, Texas — The upcoming presidential election is having an effect on the recent spike of illegal immigrants that have been arriving to this border city requesting refugee or asylum status, the mayor of this city said.
“The cartel uses what happens in the U.S. as a marketing tool in Central America,” said McAllen Mayor Jim Darling in an exclusive interview with Breitbart Texas. “The need is there (in Central America) but what happens in Washington and the way the news media presents it, they (cartels) say you better get up here. So that causes the surges … We”ll see what happens after the election to see if it slows down.”
Currently officials in McAllen have seen a spike in the number of Central American families and underage immigrants who arrive seeking refugee status. As the U.S. presidential election draws closer, service providers in this border city have been seeing more than 400 immigrants per day who have been apprehended, processed and released.
“It definitely has to be addressed. Congress has to get involved in an immigration policy and foreign policy with Central America,” Darling said referring to the difference between the asylum seekers arriving to his city to turn themselves in to authorities and traditional human smuggling where enforcement plays a role as border authorities try to stop individuals from sneaking in.
When President Barack Obama visited Cuba earlier this year, Darling said, the city began to seen a spike in Cubans who had the belief that the improving relations between the U.S. and Cuba would end the Cuban Adjustment Act that allows refugees from that country to become legal residents.
Most recently, Breitbart Texas reported that the National Border Patrol Council accused U.S. Customs and Border Protection of trying to cover up record setting figures ahead of the presidential election.
Breitbart Texas broke the story on the spikes of illegal immigrants arriving to this border city since 2014, when a shift in human smuggling routes pushed massive groups of illegal immigrants through South Texas. The illegal immigrants continued to arrive under the belief that they would be granted amnesty or some measure of relief similar to the DREAM Act. That belief became ingrained after immigration officials began to release hundreds of illegal immigrants with a notice to appear in court at a later date for deportation hearing. That notice to appear became known as a “Permiso” or permit helping drug cartels push that marketing ploy.
“What they (DC politicians) say, what the news media depicts, affects us down here at the border directly,” the mayor said.
As the more dehydrated and weary immigrants continued to be released by authorities into McAllen and made their way to the city’s bus station, local charities and the city began to provide food, shower and rest facilities to the hundreds of Central American families passing through on a daily basis. By providing basic necessities as soon as they are released, McAllen is helping northern cities from having to deal with individuals arriving in worse physical condition.
“We have added another tent with more services, another shower facility and we stretched the hours at the bus station, we were able to get another bus to come down,” Darling said. “(The immigration spike) its stretching the respite center capacity, the bus station capacity, border patrol capacity, CBP (Customs and Border Protection) capacity.”
According to Darling, the expenses for the services provided by the City of McAllen and the local charities have been out of pocket expenses, but they have been keeping detailed records preparing for the federal government to refund the expenses in a way similar to how FEMA refunds municipalities after catastrophes.