Congresswoman Veronica Escobar Sends Letter to CBP Asking to Incorporate Local Organizations Into Proposed Central Processing Center

March 1, 2019
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16) sent a letter to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan asking the law enforcement agency to incorporate local organizations that offer vital support for asylum seekers and local communities to the proposed central processing center (CPC) for the El Paso sector.

Since 2014, the El Paso sector has seen an increase in the number of Central American families fleeing violence and persecution. To address the lack of adequate temporary processing facilities, the U.S. Congress appropriated $192 million for a new CPC where CBP can process migrant families within 72 hours in humane conditions.

Currently, the local NGO Annunciation House has 11 hospitality centers across El Paso to assist migrants leaving federal custody and arrange their travel to their final destination where they will await their asylum hearing. Due to the increasing numbers of migrants and families, Annunciation House has spent more than $13,000 per week since January 31, 2019 for accommodations. Congresswoman Veronica Escobar has recognized that El Pasoans have responded with tremendous good will and generosity.

“Efficiently integrating this NGO travel coordination process into the CPC would allow Annunciation House to alleviate some of the local burden that falls on my community,” Congresswoman Escobar wrote. “I am certain that if we are creative and thoughtful, we can figure out how to achieve our mutual goal of ensuring that these vulnerable individuals get to their final destination safely and quickly once they have been processed by your agents.”

Congresswoman Escobar continued the letter stating her willingness to work with CBP to implement this change through CBP pre-planning or legislation and “incorporate this community component in the best, most efficient way possible that does not interfere with the work of federal law enforcement, does not increase the time the migrants are being held, and helps expedite their travel coordination.”

The full letter can be read here.