Hidalgo County judge declares state of disaster due to COVID-19 concerns from increase of migrants

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Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez declared a local state of disaster on Monday in response to the threat of COVID-19 due to an increase of migrants crossing the southern border.

In a statement, Cortez said the declaration targets migrants who are legally seeking asylum in the U.S. but are being released by immigration officials while positive COVID-19 infections spike within the community. 

According to a news release, the disaster declaration takes effect immediately and will stay in effect for seven days. 

Read the judge’s declaration here.

The city of McAllen also declared a state of disaster due to immigration-related COVID-19 concerns.

McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos says their rate of COVID-19 positive migrants has been steadily increasing. 

With Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order restricting the transportation of migrants due to COVID-19, Villalobos says they have fewer options to keep up with the rising numbers, adding that transportation and logistics have cost in the city over $100,000.

"That’s $106,000 we should be spending on public safety, fire protection, police protection, and streets," Villalobos said.

As the Catholic Charities Respite Center reaches overcapacity, Villalobos says the city has no idea where to put people. 

"We don’t know what we’re going to do or where we’re going to stand," he said. "We keep on asking the federal government, the president, Congress, the Senate to do something."


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