Johnston: With fewer immigrants being detained, part of Anzalduas Park is being reopened to the public

MCALLEN, TEXAS – McAllen Assistant City Manager Jeff Johnston says part of Anzalduas Park is being reopened to the public because the number of immigrants being detained there has gone down.

In his oral report to McAllen City Commission, Johnston said the number of migrants being dropped off in McAllen by bth Customs and Border Protection and by Immigration and Customs Enforcement has also gone down.

Anzalduas Park is in south Mission, next to the Rio Grande. Although owned and operated by Hidalgo County, much of it has been commandeered by Border Patrol and ICE in recent years.

Here is Johnston’s report:

Jeff Johnston

“Honorable mayor, commissioners, the drop off numbers from CBP and ICE remain low at this time. These are comparatively low, I submit to you. Three weeks ago we had 1,347. Two weeks ago it was 1,097. And then this last week, 1,041. 

“Over the last six weeks, we have had an average 1.7% COVID positivity rate. 

“We currently have less than 100 immigrants at Anzalduas Park. We are going to keep our 3,400 capacity at the park, however, at this time, because we are, again, hearing from Border Patrol that the numbers may increase at some point in the next week or so. 

“We’re also keeping a close eye on developments from the federal level and obviously are ready to respond as needed. 

“I will also mention that Hidalgo County did open part of Anzalduas Park today. Because of the numbers being so low they wanted to open some of it back to the public again. And they’ve been great partners obviously throughout this whole process.”

McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos asked Johnson how McAllen is doing financially in looking after the migrants being dropped off in the city.

“We’re doing okay, right now. If things remain as is we should be able to go close to the end of the fiscal year, close to the end of the calendar year, with the funds that we have right now.  We think we’re going to be okay. We continue to talk to our federal partners on that.”

Villalobos also asked about the nationality of the migrants being dropped off.

Johnston said: “There’s a real big mix. One of the things that you’ll hear from CBP is where it used to be several countries, you know, maybe three, four primarily, they’re coming from all over right now.”

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