El Paso Mayor Dee Margo was surprised to find that ICE had dropped off hundreds of migrants at a Greyhound bus station Sunday night. The agency usually communicates with city officials and are given plenty of warning before more immigrants show up at their door. But, thanks to a "glitch," the city was caught off guard.
ICE usually double checks with The Annunciation House, the shelter who houses them, and meets with the directors there on a weekly basis, before they are to expect more visitors. This time, ICE released the individuals "without telling us," Margo said.
"It was a surprise, yes," Margo said on Fox News Friday. "And it was in violation of our agreement with them."
Margo said about 24,000 migrants have been released through El Paso since October. The city is one of the busiest ports of entry along the border. The Annunciation House takes in the migrants and provides them food and shelter for at least 24 hours, before the individuals are transported to their sponsors. Executive Director Ruben Garcia was infuriated by the breakdown in communication this go around.
"The communication system between Annunciation House and ICE has facilitated the process of orderly releases," he said. "I'm calling upon ICE and CBP to commit themselves to ensuring that - never again - will families be released to the streets. We hope that is something that will never again be implemented and left in the past."
Margo used the incident to sound off on Washington's overall inability to fix the broken immigration system.
"Our immigration policy stinks," he said, adding that someone in Washington needs to develop "a little manhood" and "fortitude" and finally come up with a solution.
He suggested lawmakers come down to El Paso to see it for themselves.
He also said the violence in Guatemala and elsewhere needs to stop and "restore the rule of law. "
"The dollars we're sending there aren't working," he noted.
As for a physical structure along the border, Margo stopped short of using the word, "wall." He doesn't like the word because it reminds him of the Berlin wall in Germany and unlike the former case between east and west Germany, the U.S. has a relationship with Mexico.
Margo noted that El Paso has a fence that was installed back in 2008 which has stopped criminal activity and "it works."
Thankfully, the city was eventually able to figure out Sunday's surprise.
The Office of Emergency Management eventually intervened and placed the families in Sun Metro buses until they figured out what to do with them. At about 2 a..m. Monday, they were able to get rooms for the families at an El Paso hotel.
Hundreds more migrants were released on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Garcia said. Annunciation House was able to secure additional hotels to house the migrants. The Annunciation House estimates it is spending $150,000 a month for motel rooms because there isn't enough shelter space.