Valley shelter preparing for migrant influx as Title 42 ends

1 month 3 weeks 5 days ago Tuesday, December 06 2022 Dec 6, 2022 December 06, 2022 7:29 AM December 06, 2022 in News - Local

Local organizations tasked with helping migrants after crossing the border are preparing for a possible influx once Title 42 ends.

The local organizations, along with the Cameron County Health Department, say they are ready.

Jean Herard Louishomme arrived at the Ozanam Center from Haiti Monday. He plans to travel to Brooklyn. New York in the coming days.

“Life is better for security, for life, to do a lot of things because I have a dream," Louishomme said. 

Over the past two weeks, the Ozanam Center has seen an increase of migrants coming in to seek shelter.

Victor Maldonado, the executive director, says between 30 and 70 asylum walk through their doors. 

“We are being told that once Title 42 is lifted, that we are going to have more folks coming through our border, which means eventually they are going to come through the shelter," Maldonado said. 

He's concerned about what the expected influx could mean with the flu off to an early and severe start.

The Cameron County Public Health Department says they will be helping shelters with preventing and slowing the spread of the flu.

COVID-19 concerns also remain.

“COVID-19 did affect everyone in our community, however it did have a bigger effect in our RIM population with our shelters," Cameron County Public Health Emergency Preparedness Director Ashley Ruiz said. "I know they were getting an influx of migrants coming into their shelters.”

Funds that the county health department had been using to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses, like the flu within the migrant community, ran out last week.

“We will continue to have those partnerships with them," Ruiz said. "We’ll restructure who will be in charge of them now that we don’t have that specific funding.”

The health department is looking for other grant opportunities to continue their effort.

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