Laredo, Webb County and NGO’s prepare for possible migrant influx

Published: May. 10, 2023 at 4:29 PM CDT
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LAREDO, TX. (KGNS) - Laredo ranks as the city with one of lowest number of illegal crossings but despite the ranking, city officials say they are prepared for a possible migrant influx.

During a press conference on Wednesday, city officials addressed how they are preparing for it.

Mayor Dr. Victor Trevino said they are bracing like a hurricane is coming to Gateway City.

One of Dr. Trevino’s biggest concerns is how to treat migrant children who might arrive with an illness, since Laredo is medically underserved and there is no pediatric hospital in Laredo.

It’s been 10 days since Mayor Trevino issued a declaration of disaster; since then, the city, the county, the NGO’s, and federal entities have met to discuss how to deal with the influx.

As of Wednesday morning, they were informed over 100,000 migrants would arrive at the southern border; however, the mayor along with Emergency Management Coordinator Guillermo Heard and Interim Laredo Police Chief Steve Landin believe the numbers we will see, will not be like Brownsville or El Paso.

Both NGO’s, Catholic Charities, and the Holding Institute report that over 100,000 migrants at their center in 2022, specifically in December they saw over 18,000 migrants.

From January to May, they report over 12,000 migrants they have helped.

As for security measures at the centers, Chief Landin assures the community that they will have officers at the NGO’s.

“We do have 24/7 detail at both catholic charities and holding institute. We do have a patrol car there with an officer 24/7 to ensure the safety of everybody. In addition to our regular of patrol that is out everybody to ensure our community is safe,” said Landin.

The city said they have not identified which recreation center they would use if they need to shelter migrants.

In order to move forward with opening a rec center, they need to contact the Texas Division of Emergency Management before a center is approved.

This would only be activated if the NGO’s are beyond capacity.

The Holding Institute Director said they have been preparing for the past months by adding more food, clothing, cots and water at their center and Catholic Charities are looking to open another shelter.

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