The mayor of El Paso, Texas, declares a state of emergency due to the influx of migrants

The mayor of the border city of El Paso, Texas, declared a state of emergency Saturday, citing the hundreds of migrants who sleep on the streets in freezing temperatures and the thousands who are detained every day.

Mayor Oscar Leeser, a Democrat, said the emergency declaration would give city authorities the resources and capacity to house migrants who have crossed the border into Mexico.

“We wanted to make sure that people were treated with dignity. We want to make sure everyone is safe,” Leeser told reporters.

The move comes as El Paso, a Democratic stronghold with a history of welcoming immigrants, has struggled in recent months to deal with tens of thousands of migrants crossing the border into Mexico.

The city is bracing for a possible surge in immigrant arrivals after a US judge ordered COVID-era border restrictions, known as Title 42, to end on December 21.

Record numbers of migrants have been intercepted crossing the US-Mexico border under the Biden presidency, prompting attacks from his Republican opponents who favor hard-line policies.

US border agents have encountered an average of more than 2,400 migrants a day on a 268-mile stretch of the border known as the El Paso Sector over the past week, according to figures released by the city, an increase of 40 % compared to October.

Mario D’Agostino, El Paso’s deputy city manager, said the emergency declaration will also provide the city with additional transportation options to get migrants to other locations, and additional help from state law enforcement.

The United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Friday rejected an attempt by a group of states with Republican attorneys general to intervene in a lawsuit to keep Title 42 in effect.

States could appeal to the US Supreme Court.

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