City Assisting with Influx of People Crossing Border Illegally

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MCALLEN — The impact of people who enter the country illegally is costing taxpayers for now. The city of McAllen is helping with the current influx.

The tab is running. McAllen spent $365,736 since the first influx of Central Americans hit the Rio Grande Valley two years ago. Now, the city is preparing for another wave.

The goal is to goal is to get ahead of the game by talking to people who run the Sacred Heart Respite Center.

“We have communications on a daily basis, morning and afternoons,” said Josh Ramirez, McAllen Health Department director.

Two-hundred people were dropped off at the respite center on Tuesday.

“Border Patrol has told us that there's been an increase, like we've seen right now,” Ramirez said.

Last summer was busy, but not as much as the summer before that. Hundreds were at Sacred Heart every day in 2014.

Two donated tents were set up at the respite center. The city’s tents weren’t used over the past year-and-a-half. Now, those tents are on standby again.

The city is supplying cots and showers for people to use at the respite center.

“We brought additional cots for additional stay. Some people had to spend the night over. We didn't have enough cots,” Ramirez said.

The summer months ahead could be busy for Sacred Heart.

“We are heading in that direction. If we maintain 200 people a day, it’s going to be an extremely busy summer,” Ramirez said.

For now, Border Patrol, the Department of Public Safety and the city of McAllen are all watching the Rio Grande.

The money used toward the influx of people who cross illegally comes out of McAllen’s emergency response fund. It doesn’t come out of regular funds.

Currently, the city is still waiting to get reimbursed by the federal government.

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