MCALLEN, Texas — The White House recently highlighted declining numbers of migrants at the southern border, but nothing has changed the fact that 2021 has set records.
CHECKING IN ON BORDER TOWNS
"It is not very good all-around because you never know who is bringing the disease," a concerned Juan Cortez said from outside Catholic Charities in McAllen Texas.
Cortez has lived along the southern border all of his life. He calls McAllen home.
"In May, it was very bad," Cortez said.
In total, Border Patrol reports 1.6 million arrests of migrants from October 2020 through September 2021.
IMPACT ON MCALLEN
"They keep moving them out. They don't leave them here too long," Cortez said, emphasizing that his life hasn't changed that much because of the numbers.
Many migrants, when caught, only stay in the United States, sometimes, a few minutes.
Public health order Title 42 is responsible for many of the expulsions.
"Thank god for that, without that we would have been overwhelmed," said Roy Rodriquez, city manager of McAllen.
Rodriguez said hundreds of migrants are sent back daily in the Rio Grande Valley under Title 42, which was enacted to stop the spread of COVID-19. Only those with legitimate safety and health concerns can remain in the country.
In those cases, Catholic Charities steps in to provide care.
"They aren't staying in our community,” Rodriguez said. “We basically house them for several hours or a day and then they are on their way and they are going to your city."
Still, people who live on the border want Washington to do more. Rodriquez says taxpayers are on the hook for many migrant services. He also said his friends in Border Patrol are exhausted with the caseload.
“When a community can’t handle, it you need help," he said.
Right now, little help appears to be on the way. President Joe Biden has not visited the border since taking office and immigration reform has stalled in Congress.