Democratic San Antonio Congressman Henry Cuellar said the number of migrant border crossings is sharply decreasing.
Speaking at a news conference at the San Antonio headquarters of the American Red Cross, Cuellar said monthly border crossings have dropped from 140,000 to 80,000.
Cuellar said two actions taken by the Mexican government are the cause of the continued decline. He said he believes Mexico’s placement of troops on its northern and southern borders and the end of a visa program continue to stem the tide of asylum seekers.
“They also stopped the humanitarian passage visa,” Cuellar said. “Remember they said they would give them a visa where they can from the southern part of Mexico into the United States in 45 days. You know what happened when they did that — it peaked.”
South Texas charities and local governments are encouraged to apply as soon as possible for federal reimbursement for costs associated with feeding, housing and transporting asylum seekers who crossed the border.
“There’s only 10 days, there’s a window of 10 days, and I certainly ask the Catholic Charities, the City of San Antonio, the other folks who have come forward here to put their application together, send it off as soon as possible,” said Cuellar.
He added that he has been pushing Congress to approve reimbursement payments since 2014. As of early August, around 29,000 migrants had been processed through the city’s resource center.
The San Antonio Food Bank has gathered donations to feed the asylum seekers. Travis Park Church provides them with sleeping accommodations through the city’s resource center near the downtown Greyhound Bus Station.
The migrants can also get a medical screening at the resource center, city officials said.
The center is a transitional stop before they are provided with transportation to a more permanent location, city officials said.
Donations and volunteers are welcome by the resource center, Catholic Charities and the food bank, but all three suggest contacting them first to see what is truly needed the most.